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Sjtbraru I 

InmrrHtl^ of f tttfiburglj 

Darlington Memorial Library 









. O Y A' G E,,i 






YEARS ]79n 179^, 1793, AND 179^, 











VOL. I. 

EcnDon : 




T. Gillet, Printer, Salisbury Square. 



Member of Parliament for the Borough of 
Tamworth, &c. &c. ^<:. 

Who, by his Ingenuity, Abilities, and Induftry, has honourably 

acquired a princely Fortune, and in fo doing had the 

Satisfaftion of keeping feveral thoufand 

Perfons in conftant Employment : 

Who, in the Time of Danger and National Difficulty, hand- 

fomely appropriated the munificent Sum of 



And whofe Conduct, 


has (hone fo nobly difinterefted : 




By his ever obliged, obedient. 

And faithful Friend and Servant^ 

John Stocldale. 

London 6th May, iZoo. 

( V ) 


THE laudable tafte fot Voyages and Travels, 
which prevails in the prefent age, has beert 
gratified with many excellent productions, which 
render that fpecies of literature highly interefting 
to readers of almofl every defcription. Modem 
voyages of difcovery have embraced {o many ob- 
jects, that in them the Navigator fees the progrefs 
of his important art, the Geographer obferves the 
improvement of his kindred fcience, the Natu- 
ralift is gratified with curious and ufeful obje(5ls 
of refearch, the Merchant difcovers new fcenes of 
commercial enterprife, and the General Reader 
finds a fund of rational entertainment. 

The Moral Philofopher, too> who loves to 
trace the advances of his fpecies through its va- 
rious gradations from favage to civilized life> draws 
fi-om voyages and travels, the facts from which 
he is to deduce his conclufions refpecfling the fe- 
cial;, intellectual, and moral progrefs of Man. He 

A 3 fee? 


lees favage life every v^here diverfified with a va- 
riety, which, if he reafon fairly, muft lead him 
to conclude, that what is called the ftate of na- 
ture, is, in truth, the flate of a rational being 
placed in various phyfical circumftances, which 
have contrad;ed or expanded his faculties in va- 
rious degrees ; but that " men always appear 
" among animals a diflin6l and a fuperior race ; 
" that neither the pofleffion of fimilar organs, 
** nor the ufe of the hand," which nature has 
" given to fome fpecies of apes, nor the continued 
** intercourfe with this fovereign artift, have en- 
** abled any other fpecies to blend their nature 
*' with his ; that in his rudefi: ftate he is found 
*' to be above them, and in his greateft degene- 
** racy never defcends to their level ; that he is, 
" in fhort, a man in every condition ; and that 
" we can learn nothing of his nature from the 
" analogy of other animals."* Every where. 
adapting means to ends, and varioufly altering 
and combining thofe means, according to his 
views and wants, Man, even when purfuing the 
gratification of animal inftindls, too often miler- 
ably depraved, ihows himfelf to be poflefled of 
nobler faculties, of liberty to chufe among dif- 
ferent objects and expedients, and of reafon to 

* Fergufon on Civil Society, 



direct him in that choice. There is fufEcient va- 
riety in human actions to fhow that, though Man 
ad;s from motives, he adls not mechanically, but 
freely ; yet fufficient fimilarity of condudl, in 
fimilar circumflances, to prove the unity of his 
nature. Hence there appears no ground what- 
ever for fuppofmg, that any one tribe of mankind 
is naturally of an order fuperior to the reft, or 
has any fhadow of right to infringe, far lefs to 
abrogate, the common claims of humanity. Phi- 
lofophers ihould not forget, and the moft refpedl* 
able modern philofophers have not forgotten, 
that the favage ftate of the moft civilized nations 
now in Europe, is a fubjed: within the pale of 
authentic hiftory, and that the privation of iron, 
alone, would fbon reduce them nearly to the bar- 
barous ftate, from which, by a train of favourable 
events, their forefathers emerged fome centuries 
ago. If the limits of a preface would allow us 
to purfue the refle(ftions fuggefted by the different 
views of favage life, prcfented by this and various 
other fclentific voyages, it would be eafy to fliow, 
that the boafted refinement of Europe entirely 
depends on a few happy difcoveries, which are 
become fo familiar to us, that we are apt to ftip- 
pofe the inhabitants of thefe parts of the worl^ 
to ha\e been always poftefled of them ; difcove- 

A 4 ries 


ries fo unacqpuntable, and fo remote from any 
experiments which uncivilized tribes can be fup- 
pofed to have made, that we cannot do better 
than acknowledge them among the 'many pre- 
cious gifts of an indulgent Providence. 

Having mentioned Providence, a word not 
very common in fom.e of our modern voyages, 
we are tempted to add a confideration which has 
often occurred to our minds, in contemplating 
the probable iffue of that zeal for difcovering and 
correfponding with diftant regions, which has 
long animated the maritime powers of Europe. 
Without obtruding our own fentiments on the 
reader, w^e may be permitted to afk, Whether 
appearances do not juitify a conjed;ure,^that the 
Great Arbiter of the deftinies of nations may ren- 
der that zeal fubfervicnt to the moral and intel- 
ledlual, not to fay the religious, improvement, 
and the confequent happinefs, of our whole fpe- 
cies ? or, Whether, as has hitherto generally hap- 
pened, the advantages of civilization may not, in 
the progrefs of events, be transferred from the Eu- 
ropeans, who ha^ c but too little prized them, 
to thofe remote countries which they have been • 
fo diligently exploring ? If fo, the period may 
arrive, when New Zealand may produce her 
Lockes, her Newtons, and her Montcfquieus ; 



and when great nations in the immenfc reo^ion 
of New Holland, may fend their navigators, phi- 
lofophers, and antiquaries, to contemplate the 
ruins of mic'mtt London and Paris, and to trace 
the languid remains of the arts and fciences in 
this quarter of the globe. Who can tell, whe- 
ther the rudiments of fome great future empire 
may not already exift at Botany Bay ? 

But, not to detain the reader with fuch general 
refle^lions, which, however, open intereiting 
views to contemplative minds, we proceed to fay 
a few w^ords of the work now prcfented to the 
Public. And here we need to do little more than 
refer to the learned and ingenious Author's in- 
trodudion to his own work. The reader will 
immediately perceive that, if it has been toleiably 
executed, it mull form a valuable Supplement 
to the Voyage* of the unfortunate La Peroufe — 
fo valuable indeed, that it may fairly be quellion- 
ed, whether that work can be confidered as Der- 


fe6t withouz it. 

Of the execution of the work, the reader muft 

* Printed for Stockdale, Lcndun, in two large vols. 8vo. 
with fifty-one fine Plates. It muft be obferved, that this is 
the only editiim to which are annexed the inierefliu^ 
Travels of De Leffeps, over the Continent, from Karr.t- 
fchatka, with Pcroufe's difpatches. ■ . 



form his own judgment. He will perhaps agree 
with us, that the Author writes with the modefty^ 
and perfpicuity which become a philofopher, 
who all along recollects that he is compoiing a 
narrative, and not a declamation. He has, in our 
opinion, with, great tafte and judgment, gene- 
rally abllained from thofe rhetorical flourillies, 
which give an air of bombad to too many of the 
works of his countrymen, even when treating of 
fubJQ^ts which demand accuracy rather than or- 
nament. Moll: of his reflcdiions are pertinent 
and juft, and not fo far purfued as to deprive the 
reader of an opportunity of exercifnig his inge- 
nuity by extending them farther. 

This chafle and unaiFeded manner of writing 
rnay be coniidered as an internal mark of the 
fidelity of his narrative. He had no weak or de- 
formed parts to conceal with flowery verbiage, 
and therefore he rejected its meretricious aid. As 
another, and a ftill ftronger proof of our Author's 
fidelity, we may mention his occafional cenfure 
of the condu(il; of Officers, not excepting the 
Commander in Chief himfelf, when their con- 
duft happened not to appear quite deferving of 
that general approbation, which he feems willing 
to bellow. A man muft be very confcious of 
having honeilly executed his own miffion, and of 



faithfully dcfcribing the objed:s of it, when he 
fcruples not to exprefs publicly his difapprobation 
of the condud: of Officers of talents and diftinc- 
tion, engaged in the higher departments of the 
fame great undertaking. 

In translating the work, the obje(fl aimed at 
was to render it fo literally as never to depart from 
the meaning of the Author ; yet fo freely as not 
merely to clothe his French idiom with Englifh 
words. The tranflation of fuch a work lliould, 
in our opinion, be free w ithout licence, and literal 
without fervility. 

Some readers w^ould, no doubt, have willingly 
difpenfed with a great number of the nautical re- 
marks, and with all the bearings and diftanccs ; 
but thofe particulars were plainly fo important 
to navigators, that they could not, on any account, 
be omitted. Nor, indeed, has a fmgle fentence 
of the original, been retrenched in the tranfla- 
tion, except two pafTages, which would have 
been juftly confidered as indelicate by moll: Eng- 
lilli readers ; and, for the fame reafon, the two 
engravings referred to in the exceptionable paf- 
fages, have been altered. 

The whole of the plates are given in a fliyle 
generally not inferior to the original, which, with 



the French work in quarto, are fold for fix guineas, 
being thrice the price of the prefent tranllation. 

*.^* In the original, the dlilances are all expreffed in the 
new French denominations of metres, decametres, &c. and 
the Author has given a tal)le for reducing them to toifes; 
But, in the tranflationj the reader has been fpared that 
trouble, by every where infeiting the equivalent toifes, or 
French fathoms, A toife is equal to fix French feet, or 
nearly to fix feet five inche?, Fnglifli meafure : 2,853 toifes 
make a geograpliical or nautical league, twenty of which 
make a degree of a great circle of the earth. Hence, to 
reduce toifes to nautical leagues, divide them by 2,853^ 
t^^t quotient will be the leagues, and the remainder the odd 
toifes 4 


( xjii ) 


NO intelligence had been received for three 
years rcfpecling the fhips BoufToIe and 
Aftrolabe, commanded by M. de la Peroufe, when, 
early in the year 17Q^, the Pariiian Society of 
Natural Hiftory called the attention of the Con- 
ftituent AiTembly to the fate of that navigator, 
and his unfortunate companions. 

The hope of recovering at leail fome wreck of 
an expedition undertaken to promote the fcienccs^ 
induced the Aflembly to fend two other fhips to 
lleer the fame courfe which thofe navigators muil 
have purfued, after their departure from Botany 
Bay. Some of them, it was thought, might have 
efcaped from the wreck, and might be confined 
in a defert ifland, or thrown upon fome coaft in- 
habited by favages. Perhaps they might be drag- 
ging out life in a diftant clime, vwth their longing 
eyes continually iixed upon .the fea, anxiouily 
looking for that relief which they had a right to 
exped: from their country. 

On the gth of February ];i)], the following 
decree was paffed upon this fubjed : 

'' The National AfTembly having heard the 



" report of its joint Committees of Agriculture, 
" Commerce, and the Marine, decrees, 

" That the King be petitioned to iiTue orders 

'* to alt the ambaffadors, refidents, confuls, and 

" agents of the nation, to apply, in the name of 

'* humanity, and of the arts and fciences, to the 

** different Sovereigns at whofe courts they re-^ 

" fide, requefting them to charge all their navi- 

" gators and agents whatfoever, and in what 

" places foever, but particularly in the moft fouth- 

** erly parts of the South Sea, to fearch diligently 

*' for the two French frigates, the BoulTole and 

" the Aftrolabc, commanded by M. de la Pe- 

" roufe, as alfo for their fhips' companies, and to 

" make every inquiry which has a tendency to 

" afcertain their exiftence or their fhipwreck ; in 

" order that, if M. de la Peroufe and his compa- 

" nions fhould be found or met with, in any place 

" whatfoever, they may give them every aflift- 

" ance, and procure them all the means neceifary 

" for their return into their own country, and for 

<* bringing with^them all the property of which 

" they may be poffeiTed ; and the National Af- 

*' fembly engages to indemnify, and even to re- 

^' compcnfe, in proportion to the importance of 

" the fervice, any pcrfon or pcrfons who fhall 

" give affiftance to tbofe navigators, fhall procure 

" intelligence concerning them, or Ihallbe inftru- 



'* mental in reiloring to France any papers or ef- 
'' fed:s whatiocver, which may belong, or may 
'' have belonged, to their expedition : 

'* Decrees, farther, that the King be petitioned 
*' to give orders for the fitting out of one or more 
" fhips, having on board men of fcience, na* 
" turalifts, and draughtfmen, and to charge the 
** commanders of the expedition with the two- 
" fold miffion of fearching for M. de la Peroufe, 
" agreeable to the documents, inilrud:ions, and 
*' orders which fliall be delivered to them, and of 
*' making inquiries relative to the fciences and to 
" commerce, taking every meafure to render this 
'* expedition ufeful and advantageous to naviga- 
" tion, geography, commerce, and the arts and 
*' fciences, independently of their fearch for M. 
** de la Peroufe, and even after having found him, 
^' or obtained intelli«!;ence concernins: him." 

Compared with the original, by us the Prefi- 
dent and Secretaries of the National Affcm- 
bly, at Paris, this 24th day of Feb. 1 7gi. 

(^Signed) Duport, Prcfident. 

LyIORE, ^ 


From my carliefl years, I had devoted myfclf 
to tlie fcience of natural hiftory ; and, being per- 



fuaded, that it is in the great book of Nature^, 
that we ought to ftudy her productions, and 
form a juft idea of her phoenomena, when I had 
finiilied my medical courfe, I took a journey into 
England, which was immediately followed by 
another into the Alps, where the different tem- 
peratures of a mountainous region prefent us with 
a prodigious variety of obje6ls. 

1 next vifitcd a part of Aiia Minor, where I re- 
fided two years, in order that I might examine 
thofe plants, of which the Greek and Arabian 
phyficians have left us very imperfect defcrip- 
tions ; and I had the fatisfadlion of bringing from 
that country very important colle^lions. 

Soon after my return from this laft tour, the 
National Affembly decreed the equipment of two 
fliips, in order to attempt to recover at leaft a 
part of the wTeck of the fhips commanded by I^a 

It was an honourable di{l:in6lion to be of the 
number of thofe, whofe duty it was to make every 
poffible fearch, which could contribute to reftore 
to their country, men who had rendered her fuch 

That voyage was, in other refpeds, very tempt- 
ing to a naturalift. Countries newly difcovered 
mitrht be expeded to increafe our knowledge with 



nfew productions, which might contribute to the 
advancement of the arts and fciences. 

My paffion for voyages had hitherto increafed, 
and three months fpent in navigating the Medi- 
terranean, when I w^ent to Afia Minor, had given 
me fome experience of a long voyage. Hence I 
feized with avidity this opportunity of traverfing 
the South Seas. 

If the gratification of this paffion for fludy 
cofts us trouble, the varied produ6ls of a newly 
difcovered region amply compenfate us for all the 
fufFcrings unavoidable in long voyages. 

I was appointed by the Government to make, 
in the capacity of natural if!:, the voyage of which 
I am about to give an account. 

My Journal, which was kept with care during 
thew^hole courfe of the voyage, contained many 
nautical obfervations ; but I ought to obferve, 
that that part of my work would have been very 
incomplete, without the auxiliary labour beftowed 
upon it by Citizen Legrand, one of the beft 
officers of our expedition. 

I take this opportunity of teftifying my grate- 
ful remembrance of that fkilful mariner, whofe 
lofs in the prefent war is a fubjecfl of regret. 

When I was leaving Batavia, in order to pro- 
ceed to the Ille of France, Citizen Piron, draughtf- 
man to the expedition, begged my acceptance of 

Vol. I. ' B duplicates 


duplicates of his drawings of th« drelTes of the 
nativ^es, which he had made in the courfe of the 
voyage. I do not helitate to aiTure my readers, 
that thofe w^orks of his pencil are ftriking like- 

I have endeavoured to report, in the moft exa(5l 
manner, the fa6ls which I witneffed during this 
painful voyage, acrofs feas abounding with rocks, 
and among favages, againft whom it was hedef- 
fary to exert continual vigilance. 

General Dentrecafteaux received the command 
of the expedition. That officer requefted from 
the Government two Ihips of about five hundred 
tons burden. Their bottoms were fheathed v/ith 
wood, and then filled with fcupper nails. It was 
not apprehended that this mode would diminifli 
their velocity, and it was thought that it would 
add to the folidity of their con'ftru6lion. It is, 
however, acknowledged that fliips fheathed and 
bottomed with copper may be conftrudied with 
equal folidity, and that they have greatly the 
advantage in point of failing. Thofe Ihips re- 
ceived names analogous to the obje6l of the en- 
tcrprizc. That in w^hich General Dentrecafteaux 
embarked, was called the Recherche (Refearch), 
and the other, commanded by Captain Huon 
Kermadec, received the name of the Efperancc 
(the Hope)* 



The Recherche had on board one hundred and 
thirteen men at the time of her departure : the 
Eiperance only one hundred and fix. 


Principal Officers. 

JBruny Dentirecafteaux, Commander of the Expedition, 

Doribeau, Lieutenant, 

Roflel, ditto, 

Cretin, ditto, 

Saint Aignan, ditto, 

Singler Devvelle ditto, 

Willaumez fenior^ Enfign, 

Longuerue, Eleve, 

Achard Bonvouloir, ditto, 

Dumerite, Volunteer, 

Renard, Surgeon, 

Hiacinthe Boideliot, Surgeon's Mate, 

Letrand, Aftronomer, 

Labillardiere, Naturalift, 

Defchamps, ditto, 

Louis Ventenat, ditto, afting as Chaplain, 

Beautems Beaupre, Geographical Engineer, 

Piron, Draughtfman, 

Lahaie, Gardener. 

Warrant and Petty Officers - - t 

Gunners and Soldiers - - - 18 

Carpenters - « - - "3 

Caulkers - - - - - 2 

* The name of every individual on bosrd both the (hips is inferted In 
the original ; but it feems unneceflary to retain any names in this tranfla. 
tlon but thofe of the officers and men of fcience, who, if we may ufe the 
fxpreflion, are the chief dramatis perfona, and feveral of them come for- 
ward,, in their rcfpeitlve capacities, in the courfeof the y;oxk,'^TrafiJlator , 

B % Sail 


Sail-makers * - ' ' .. " * 

Pilots - - - - - -^ 3 

Armourer - - " - - i 

Blackfmith - - - - - I 

Sailors . - - - - - 3^ 

Young Sailors - - - - "3 

Boys - - - - - - 4 

Cook, Baker, &c.* . - - - 5 

Domeftics. - - - - ,,.8 


Principal Officers, 
Huon Kermadec, Captain, 
Trobiant, Lieutenant, 
LafTeny, ditto, 
Lagrandiere, ditto, 
Lufan^ay, ditto, 
Lamotte Dupertail, ditto, 
Legrand, Enfign, 
Laignel, ditto, 
Jurieu, Volunteer, 
Boyne, Ek-ve^ 
Jouanet, Surgeon, 
Gauffre, Surgeon's Mate. 
Pierfon, Aftronomer, acting as Chaplain, 
E-iche, Naturalift, 
Blavier, ditto, 
Jouveney, Geographical Engineer, 

Ely, Draughtfman. 

Warrant and Petty Officers - - - 8 


Armourers - - - - - 2 

Gunners and Marines - - . 14 

Carpenters - - - " ^ 

Blackfmith - - - - - i 

Caulkers - - - - - - 2 

Sail-makers - - * - - a 

Pilots - - - - - - 4 



Sailors - - - - - - 36 

Boys - - - " ■ - S 

Cook, Baker, &c. - - - - 5 

Domeftics - - - - - 8 

It is melancholy to add, that of two hundred 
and nineteen people, ninety-nine had died before 
my arrival in the Ifle of France. But it mull: be 
obferved, that we loft but few people in the 
courfe of our voyage, and that the dreadful mor- 
tality which we ^experienced was owing to our 
long ftay in the iiland of Java. 

B 3 CON- 





^EPARTURE from Brejt--Arnval at SL Croix., 

171 the IJlancl of Teneriffe — Journey to the Peak of 
Teiieriffe — Kefuf citation of a Sailor who had been 
drowned — Some daring Rohhers carry off his Clothes 
— Two of our Naturallfts are attacked with a fplt ting 
of Blood, which obliges them to give up their Defign 
of Proceeding to the Summit of the Peak — Engllfh , 
Veffels In the Road of St. Croix — Different Refidts 
from the Obfervatlons made In Order to determine the 
Variations of the Needle — New Eruption of a Vol- 
cano to the South-eafl of the Peak - page 33 


IVe depart froyn Teneriffe, and fet fall for the Cape of 
Good' Hope — Obfervatlons — Splendid Appearance of 
the Surface of the Sea, prbduced by phofphorlc Light 
« — Themqfi ger,.i.ral Caife of the Phofphorefccnce of the 
Sea-water afcertained — Four of our Sheep which we 


CONTENTS. xxiii 

. . had h fought from Teneriffe are throum inio the Sea — 
Moderate Temperature of the Atmofphere uear the 
Lhie — The Variation of the Compajs greater o?i the 
Soibi-h than on the North Side of the Equator — Eafy 
Method of rendering Jtagnated Water frejh — Thick 
Fog, which caiifes the Mercury in the Barometer to 
rife — Lunar Rainhow — Arrival at the Cape of Good 
Hope - . _ page 70 


Abode at the Cape of Good Hope — Depojitions of tzvo 
French Captains, Jliewing that they had been irformed 
at Batavia by Commodore Hunter of his having feen 
fome Perfons at the Admiralty I/lands, drejfed in the 
Uniforms of the French Marine — Captain Bligh's 
Voyage from England in Queji of the Breadfruit in 
the Society Iflands — Violent Gales from the South Eajl 
— Local Caufe of their Violence — Slave-trade — Ex- 
curfions amongfl the Mountains hi the Vicinity of the 
Tovjn — Journey of the Fifcal — Voyage to Franfche 
Hoek - - - page 102 


Departure from the Cape of Good Hope — Death of the 
Majier-Carpenter of the Recherche — Divers Occur- 
rences — Singular Flight of the Albatrofs — The IJle of 
St. Paul feen — Conflagration of its Ferejls — Prodigi- 

B 4 ous 


ans Swaf-ms of Infe£is in our Ship's Bifcuit — Violtnt 
RffeSts of the Surge — The Comynander dangeronjly 
'Wounded — Luminous Points at the Extremity of the 

Conductors Large phofphorefcent Corpujcles In 

Confequence of an erroneous Ohjervation taken by 
Willaumez eve enter hy Mijiake iyito Tempefi Bay in- 
Jiead of Adventure Bay — General Ohfervaiions upon 
the Variations of the Magnetic Needle — Gradiuil Di- 
minution of the Phofphorefcency of the Water, propor- 
tionate to our Dijiance from the Land — Courje of the 
Currents — We are obliged to heat the Place where 

our Time- keepers are kept Anchorage in Port 

J)entrecajieaux - - P^g^ i'^S 


Abode at Port Dentrecajleaux — Signs of the Coajts be^ 
tng frequented by the Savages — Different Excurfions 
into the inferior Part of the Country — Trees of an 
enormous Height — Excellence of the Soil- — Black 
Swans — '■Large Trunks of Trees, hollowed by Pire, 
Jerve the Natives as Places of Retreat — Kangaroo 
— Otfervations relati?ig to Coinparative Anatomy — • 
Places of Shelter againfi the JVind confiruCled by the 
Natives — ConflruSlion of their Huts — Afuddoi Giifi 
of Wind breaks our Chain — We run agromid ui the 
Mud — Meet with a young Savage — Intelligence of a 
Paffitge hy which one may fail from Tempefi into Ad- 
venture Bay — Huts of the Natives — Phoca' Mona- 
chus — The Heart of this amphibious Animal has no 



Foramen Ovale — Ohjervatlons relating to Comparative 
Anatomy — 'Traces of Beajis of Pt~cy at the Cape of 
Van Diemen — Huts, which appear to have been lately 
inhabit ed — Viviparous Flies, the Larva of which 
produce Jpeedy Futrefa6iion in Flejii-meat — Citizen 
Riche finds fome burnt human Bones — Our Mafier 
Sail-maker lofes hunfelf in the IVoods — Both Veffels 
run aground in the Mud — Vtenfils of the Savages — ^ 
Place of the Ob/ervatoty — Variation of the Magnetic 
Needle — Time of High-water in the Harbour — De- 
parture from Port F)entrecajleaux — Pajfage through 
the Straits of Demrecaftcaux — Fires — Savages feen 
on the Shore — One of them kindles the Fire in different 
Places — We cafk Anchor in a large Bay at the En^ 
trance of the Straits of Dentrecajleaux — Fxcurfion 
into the Country — Savages found dreffing their Food 
at the Fire — The Straits which we had difcovered 
receive the Name of the Straits of Dentrecujieaux — 
Anchoring Places i?i this Channel — Excurfiofis into the 
Countries fituated along its Coafls* — Rencounters with 
. the Savages — Departure from the Straits of Dentre- 
cajleaux _ _ - page 167 


Importance of the Strait of Dentrecajleaux — Run from 
Cape Diemen to Nezv Caledonia — Coujiing the South 
Weji of New Caledonia — Dangerous Situation of the 
Recherche near the Reefs on that Coajt — Little Clijler 
of IJlands at the Northern Extremity of New Cale- 


donia — Fiew of the Natives — Prodigious Exienf of 
the Reefs — Viezv of the Land of the Arfacides, and of 
the Treafury IJlands — Coajiing the Wejiern Fart of 
the IJlands of BougainvUIe, and Bfiuka — Dangerous 
Situation of the Recherche, on the Shoals off the IJland 
of Boiigain'vilh — Interview with the Savages of 
Bouka IJland — Their Tajie for Mujic — Their Trea- 
chery-. — Their Canoes — Determination ofJeveralPoints 
of Bougainville and Bouka IJlands — Anchor in Car- 
. > teret Harbour — Several Excurjions on the neighhoicr- 
ing Land — Inceffant llain during our Slay at Car^ 
teret Harbour — Different Objervations page 237 

CHAP. vir. 

Departure from Carteret Hctrbour — On that Occajton 
the EJperajice lojes an Anchor — Paffage through St. 
George's Channel — View of the Portland IJlands — 
Different Interviews with the Natives of the Ad- 
miralty IJlands — Their fantaffical Fajhion — Dejpo- 
tifm of their Chiefs — Canoes — AJlomJhiyig rapidity of 
their Motion View of the Hermit IJlands — Their In- 
habitants — View of the Exchequer IJlajids — A New 
IJland — A Water Spout — View of New Guinea — 
Paffage through Pitt Strait — Singular Effects of the 
Tides — Ravages of the Scurvy — Anchor at Amboyna 

page 291 




Stay at Aviboyna — A Calm-Boy helonging to the Re- 
cherche is accidentally droiimed — Vifit to the Gover- 
jifjf — Different Excurfions into the Interior of the 
I/la?id — One of the NaturaTifls falls darvreroujly ill 
■ — Defcription of his Diforder — A^^reeahle Liquor fur- 
niJJied by the Sago Palm— Sugar extracted from it 
— Vfes of the different Parts of that imluahk Tree — 
Means hy which the Flying Dragon fajlaivs itftlf in 
the Air — Explanation of Matf, which preferves the 
Crops from being plundered — A Dutch Sailor fees 
into the Woods for Fear of being fent to Bafavia — 
Dextrous Manner of catclmig the Cancer Carcinus 
Cabins of the Nati-ves of Amboyna — Their Cloathing^ 
&c. — Their Method of procuri?ig Fire ; and (f Fifli- 
ing in the Night — Culture of Nutmegs aiul Cloves — 
A long Bamboo cut fo as, with a brijk Gale, io emit a 
very agreeable Sound — Fifherics of the Inhabitants — 
A Sago-Work — Extrattion of its F^ecuhc — Dif cafes 

common at Amboyna Various Refeilions on the 

IJland and Its Inhabitants - nagc 338 


Departure from Amboyna — Singular Effcul of the Tales 
— Vie-w of different I/lands — Ravages on board, by 
the Species of Cockroach, called Blatta Gcrmanica — 
Run along the South-Wiift dafl of New liollnnd— 



Death of the Blackfmith helonglng to the Recherche 
— AJiorm drives us toivards the Coajl — We anchor 
in Legrand Bay — The EJperance, voh'de at Anchor 
lojes two of her Rudder-irons — Her Moorlng-chain 
■ gives Way — Different Excurfions on the neighbouring 
Land — Nevj Species of Swan — Sea-Salt found at 
more tlian one hundred Toifes in perpendicular height 
' — That Phcenomenon accounted for — Citizen Riche 
lofes himfeJf on the Continent more than two days — 
Departure from Legra?id Bay, a7id Continuation of 
our Run along the Coafl — Want of Water obliges us 
to leave it — Arrival at Cape Diemen — Cafl Anchor iri 
the Bay of Rocks - - page A2% 



t, CHART of the World, exhibiting the Track of M. 
de la Peroufe, and the Tracks of La Recherche 
and L'Efperance in Search of that Navigator Pa^-e 55 

II. View of the Admiralty-iflands ... 2^7 

III. Savage of the Admiralty-ifiands - - 308 
IX. Black Swan of Van Diemen's-Iand - - ■ 184. 

XII. Fig. I, 2 and 3. Aferoe Rubra — Fig. 4, 5 and 6. 

Spider which die New Caledonians eat — 7 and H. 
Shield of the Natives of Loaifiada — Hatchet of the 
Natives of Lou ifiada . _ _ i^g 

XIII. Eucalyptus globulus - - . jg6 

XIV. Exocarpos cuprelliformis - - - 199 

XV. Diplarrena moroea - - - 2,02 

XVI. Richea glauca . - - - ' 255 
XX. Eucalyptus cornuta - - > - . ^^-j 
XXL Chorizema ilicifolia . . . . ^^q 

XXII. Anigozanthos rufa - - , 465 

XXIII. Bankfia repens - - - 467 

XXIV. Bankfia nivea '- . - - ib. 
XXVII. Dance of the Women of the Friendly-iilands in 

Prefenceof Queen Tine— 7e/rtr<? tb^ Title ^ Vd. I. 
For the defer iption fee page 160, vol. ii. 
XLIII. Canoe of the Ifland of Bouka - - 2^7 



IV. Natives of Van Diemen's-land fifhing " ' 57 

V. Natives of Van Diemen's-land preparing their Viffluais 60 

VI. Woman of Van Diemen's-land - ^ 36 

VII. IMan of Van Diemen's-land— Child of Van Die- 

-men's-land - - - - •^S 

VIII. Man of Van Diemen's-land— Fenou, Chief of the 

WaiTiors of Tongatabou ^. .. , go 



' X. Black fpotted Parroquet of Van Diemen's-land - 53 

XL Calao of the Ifland of Waygiou ^ - - 301 

XVII. Mazeutoxeron rufum - - - 16 

XVIII. Carpodontos lucida * - - 21 

XIX. Mazeiitoxeron reflexum - - . _ 71 

XXV. Man of New Zealand— Girl of New Zealand - 89 

XXVI. An Entertainment given to General Dentrecaf- 

tea\ix by Toubou, Kingof theFriendly-iflands - 138 

XXVIII. Double Canoe of the Friendly.Iflands — To face the Title, 

Foh 11. 

For the defcription fee page 97, vol. ii. 
CXIX. Toubou, Son of the King of the Friendly-iflands 

— Vouacece, an Inliabilant of Fidgi - - 174. 

XXX. Woman of Tongatabou — Woman of Amboyna - i6g 

XXXI. EfFeds of the Inhabitants of the Friendly-iflands 

- — Fig. r, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Bafi<ets of dif- 
ferent Forms — Fig- 8. An earthen VefTel, in- 
clofed in a Net, with large Meflies made of the 
Filamentsof theCocoa-nut— Fig.9. A wooden 
VefTel in which they prepare Kava — Fig. 10. 
II and 12. Cups out of which they drink 
Kava — Fig. 13. Afpoon cut out of a Shell — 
Fig 14. The Fruit of the Melodlnus fcandens ^ in 
which the Women keep the Gil for anointing 
different Parts of their Bodies - - 12,6 

XXXII. Continuation of the Effecffs of the Inhabitants of 

theFriendly-ifiands — Fig. 15. An Apron made 
of the Filaments of the Cocoa-nut — Fig. 16, 
17, 18 and 19. DififerentSorts of Necklaces— ,■ 
Fig. 20. Ornament for the Head — Fig. 21. A 
comb — Fig. 22. A grotel'que Figure of Bone 
— Many of the Inhabitants wear them fui'- 
ponded to the Neck, as alfo a Bit of Bone, 
which is a bad Reprefentation of a Bird, hung 
to the Necklace, N'^ 19 — Fig. 23. The Tooth 
cf a Shark, fixed to th e End of a wooden Hand !e, 



find which is ufed in carving diiferent Works— Page 

Fig. 24. A Rafp, made of the Skin of theRay- 

fifli, faflenedon a Piece of Wood — Fig.'25 and 

a6. Calcareous Stones which the Inhabitants 

tie to Lines, with which thev fifli at great 

Depths — Fig. 27, 28 and 29. Fifti-hooks — Fig. 

30. A wooden Hook, with four Branches, under 

a wooden Plate. — Fig. 31. The wooden Plate - i68 

XXXIIT. Continuation of the Effefts of the Inhabitants 

of the Friendly-ifiands — Fig. 32. A fly flap 

made of the Filaments of the Cocoa-nut — 

Fig. 33. A Fan made of the Leaf of a Species 

of Palm, called corjphanmhraculifera — Fig. 34 

and 35. Wooden Pillows — Fig. 36. A Club 

for breaking the Head — Fig. 37, 38 and 39. 

Clubs — Fig. 40. A Kind of Bone Cutlafs — 

Fig. 41 . A Kind of Bone Sabre - - 150 

XXXIV. Woman of the Ifland of Beauprc — Man of the 

Ifland of Beauprc ~ . - 247 

XXXV. Native of New Caledonia throwing a Javelin - 256 

XXXVI. A Woman of New Caledonia ~ . '195 

XXXVII. Effeas of the Natives of New Caledonia- 

Fig. I. A wooden Mafk — Fig 2 and 3. A 
Bonnet — Fig. 4. A Necklace — Fig 5 and 6. 
Bracelets — Fig. 7, 8 and 9. Combs — Fig. 
10, II, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Clubs - 194 

XXXVIII. Continuation of the Effects of the Inhabitants 

of New Caledonia — Fig. r6. A Bag to con- 
tain the oval Stones, which the Inhabitants 
throw with their Slings — Fig. 17. The 
Sling — Fig. 18. The Stone — Fig. ig. The 
'Nbouet^ an Iciftrument with which the Sa- 
vages of New Caledonia cut the Flefti of their 
Enemies, which they divide among them 
after a Battle — Fig. 20. Two human iirm- 
bones, tapered and well polifned, intended 
for tearing out the Inteflinci of the unior- 



■ tuhate Viflims which thofe People devour Peigs 
— Fig. 21. A Hatchet of ferpentine Stone 
fixed in a wooden Handle — Fig. 22, 23. 
Fifh-hooks — Fig. 24. A Bafket — Fig. 25. A 
Spear of the Natives of the Adinirahy- 
iflands, pointed with a Piece of volcanic 
glafs — Fig. 26. A Flute of the Natives of 
Louifiada Fig. 27. A Necklace of the Na- 
tives of Louifiada— Fig. 28, 29 and 30. 
Huts of the Savages of New Caledonia - 194 
XXXIX. Magpie.of New Caledonia - - 227 

XL. Dracophyllum verticillatum - - 220 

XLL Antholoma montana - - . 246 

XLIL View of the Ifland of Bourou, taken from the Road 306 

XLIV. Canoe of the Arfacides - . _ 277 

XLV. Double Canoe of New Caledonia - - 193 

XLVI. Catimarron of Van Diemen's Land — Canoe of 

the South Sea Ifland of Santa Croix - - 8r 



tunate,Vi£lims which thofe People devour ^c^gi 
— Fig. 21. A Hatchet of ferpentine Stone 
fixed in a wooden Handle — Fig. 22, 23. 
Fifh-hooks — Fig. 24. A Bafket — Fig. 25. A 
Spear of the Natives of the Admiralty- 
iflands, pointed with a Piece of volcanic 
glafs' — Fig. 26. A Flute of the Natives of 
Louiiiada Fig. 27. A Necklace of the Na- 
tives of Louifiada — Fig. 28, 29 and 30. 
Huts of the Savages of New Caledonia . 194 
XXXIX. Magpie.of New Caledonia - - 227 

XL. Dracophyllnm verricillatum - . - 220 

XLl. Antholoma montana - - - 246 

XLII. View of the Ifland of Bourou, taken from the Road 306 

XLIV. Canoe of the Arfacides - . - 277 

XLV. Double Canoe of New Caledonia - - 193 

XLVI. Catimarron of Van Diemen's Land — Canoe of 

the South Sea Ifland of Santa Croix - - 8r 







Departure from Brejl — Arrival at St. Croix, in the 
IJland of Tenerijfe — Journey to the Peak of Te- 
77 eriffe — Refufitation of a Sailor who had been 

drowned Some daring Robbers carry off his 

Clothes — Two of our Natnralifls are attacked with 
a Spitting of Blood, which obliges them to give 
up their Deftgn of Proceeding to the Summit of 
the Peak — Englfh VeJJels in tht Road of St, 
. Croix — Different Reftdts from the Obfervations 
made in Order to determine the Variatio7ts of the 
Needle — New Eruption of a Volcano to the South" 
eafl of the Peak, 

AUGUST, 1791 . 

THE equipment of the two vefTels appointed 
for the voyage which we were about to un- 
dertake being already in a ftate of great forward- 
nefs, towards the clofe of the month of Auguft, 
wx received orders from General Dentrecafteaux 
to repair to Breft. I had the pleafure of travelling 
thither in the company of three perfons engaged 
Vol. I. C in 


m the fame expedition, namely, the Citizens 
Riche, Beaupre, and Pierfon. 

We arrived at Breft on the 1 oth of September. 
Some of the fineft fliips in the French navy, fuch 
as the Majeftueux, the Etats de Bourgogne, the 
America, &c. were then in the harbour. 

While our aftronomcrs were engaged in mak- 
ing the obfervations neceifary for determining the 
movements of our time-keepers, thofe who de- 
figned to make Natural Hiftory the principal ob- 
jedl of their attention were employed in furnifli- 
ing themfelves with all the requifites for pre- 
paring the collections, which they purpofed to 
make in the unknown countries we were about 
to vifit. 

As it was my intention to devote myfelf chiefly 
to the obfervation of the vegetable kingdom, I 
flood in need of a great quantity of paper, and 
w^iilied to provide myfelf with forne of a very 
large fize. It was, however, not without great 
.difficulty that I was able to procure twenty-two 
reams ; almoft all that remained in the ware- 
houfes having been lately appropriated to the fer- 
vice of the artillery. 

I employed a part of the time that I had at my 
own difpofal in examining the botanical garden, 
which is kept in very good order. There is alfo, 
in this place, a fmall cabinet of natural hiftory, 


Sept.] of la perouse* 35 

which contauis feveral anatomical preparations 
prefentcd to it by Citizen Joannet, furgeon of the 
Efpe ranee. 

The mufter of our crews took place in the 
harbour on the 21 ft of September. 

The vefTels went into the road-ftead on the 
•25th. There were then no foreign fhips there, 
and very few French. 

We were very heavily laden, fo that when we 
fet fail our draught was thirteen feet nine inches 
at the ftern, and twelve feet ten inches at the 

There were on board the Recherche : 6 eight 
pounders ; 2 carronades of thirty-fix ; 6 pedere- 
roes of half a pound ; 1 2 pedereroes of fix ounces ; 
45 mufkets ; 35 piftols; 50 fabres : 30 battle- 
axes, and 10 efpingoles. 

The Efperance was provided with nearly the 
fame means of defence, which were fufficient to 
fecure us againft any violence that might be at- 
tempted by favages. 

Both veflels were furniflied with a great ftore 
of commodities intended to be diftributed amongft 
the natives of the South-feas. Iron tools, and 
ftuffs of different colours, efpecially red, formed 
the bafis of our bartering ftock. 

Each of the veffels w^as ftored with proviiions 
fufficient for the confumption of eighteen months^ 

<: 2 We 


We now only waited for a favourable wind to fet 
fail. A pretty frefli breeze fpringing up from the 
eaft, enabled us to get under way about one o'clock 
in the afternoon of the 28 th of September. Soon 
after we had left the roads, we difcovered two 
failors and a cabin-boy, who being very defirous 
-of going on this expedition, and having been dif- 
appointed in their wifh to be included in our 
crew, had concealed themielves in the fliip. As 
we had fcarcely room fijfficient for the men al- 
ready on board, our Commander gave orders to 
tack about and make for the roads of Bertheaume, 
where our three unbidden guefts were fet on 

The Efperance, having met with no fuch in- 
terruption, had got confiderably a-head ot us, but 
we came up with her before night, as bur veiTel 
was a much better failer. 

At taking our departure at fix in the evening, 
we found our place to be 48° 13' N. lat, 7° 16' E. 
We fet the oueffant at N. 2° W. of the compafs. 
The bee de la chevre at S. E. 4" E. 
The bee du raz at S. 2° E. 

Point Mathieu was then at the diftance of 
2,505 toifes. 

We now ftecred our courfe E. N. E. till to- 
/wards midnight, when we direded it right eaft. 


Sept.] of la perouse. 37 

On the 29tb, our Commander Dentrecafteaux 
was informed, by difpatches which he had orders 
not to open before we were in the main fea, that 
Major Huon Kermandec, Commander of the Ef- 
perance, was advanced to the rank of poft- cap- 
tain fcapita'me devaifjcaii), and himfelf to that of 
rear-admiral (contre-am'iral). This intelhgence 
was immediately conA'eyed by the fpeaking-trum- 
pet to the Efperance, and our flags were hoifted 
with the diftind:ive enfisns of the rank conferred 
upon the Commander. 

We again difcovered two marines, and a eabin- 
boy, who were not inrolled among our crew, and 
had kept themfelves till now concealed in the 
fhip. As we were already too far from the land 
to fct them on ihorc, the Commander permitted 
them to accompany us on our expedition. 

Having made feveral fea-voyages before the 
prefent, I had flattered myfelf that I was too 
feafoned a failor to be any more incommoded by 
the motion of the veflel ; but I found that I had 
already entirely loft this qualification, for I was 
fea-fick during the firffc three days after our failing 
from Brelt. I have had frequent opportunities 
in the courfe of this voyage of remarking, that 
a very fhort ftay upon fhore is fufficient to ren- 
der me anew fufceptible of ficknefs from the mo- 

C 3 tion 


tion of the veffel ; for whenever we have put out 
to fea, after having lain a Ihort time at anchor, 
I have always been difordered for two or three 
days as much as I was after our departure from 
Brefh. The failors advife one, in thefe cafes, to 
endeavour to eat, notwithflanding the loathing ot 
food that always accompanies this diforder. But 
this piece of advice it is very difficult to follow ; 
for belides the pain produced by the a<3:ion of 
fwallowing, the prefence of food in the ftomach 
increafes the naufea, and the vomiting that fii- 
pervenes is fliill more dif^reffing. 

Diluting liquors, taken in fmall quantities at a 
time, fo as not to burden the fiiomach, have always 
afforded rne the moil; relief. Lukewarm water, 
nightly fweetened with fugar, is the drink which 
I have generally ufed, as it is the eaiieft to be 
procured at fea. 

We had, however, feveral perfons on board, 
who, though they had never been at fea before, 
experienced not the fmalleft inconvenience from 
the toffing of the fhip. Such a conflitution is 
very defirable for thofe who undertake long voy- 
ages ; for it is impoflible to defcribe the difagree- 
ableienfations that attend this fpafmodic affec- 
tion, which, as it operates upon every part of the 
frame, produces fuch a general depreffion of its 


Oct.] of la per.ouse. 39 

powers, that life would be infupportablc, were it 
not for the hope of a fpeedy termination of the 

From the day of our fetting fail, to the 5 th of 
Odiober, we had flight breezes, that varied be- 
tweeii the north and eaft points of the compafs. 
From that time to our arrival at TenerifFe, they 
blew pretty frcih, varying between the north and 
north-eaft. This alteration in the ftate of the 
wind gave us no fmali uneafinefs, as in our iitua- 
tion it might become producflive of the moft 
fatal confequences. Lumbered as we ,were in 
every part of the veffel, and drawing confiderably 
above the load-water line, we ran the rilk of 
being overfet by a fudden fquall : befides, the 
ftowage had been very negligently performed. In 
this diforderly ftate we had failed from France, 
although the expedition had been decreed by the 
National AlTembly almofl eight months before it 
took place. 

I On the 1 1 th of Odober, about fifty-five minutes 
after ten o'clock, we obfcrved an eclipfe of the 
moon. The obfervations that can be taken at fea, 
lead to no very accurate refults. Citizen Wil- 
laumez, however, concluded, from one which he 
took, that we were now in the longitude of 
18^ IQ' 45" W. On the 1 2th, about eight in the 

C 4 morning. 


morning, the Efperance intimated to us by a fig- 
nal, that land was elfpied. 

Towards noon we reckoned ourfelves to be at 
the diftance of about 7 1 j800 toifes from the peak 
of Teneriffe, which bore S. E. S. raifmg its head 
majefticallj above the clouds. 

At the clofe of the evening we were not more 
than about 1 o,20o toifes diilant from the north- 
eaft point of the ifland. We Ihifted with the 
fore and main top-fails every three hours, whilfi: 
we expelled the dawn. As foon as it appeared, 
we made towards the ifland, coafting along at the 
diftance of 500 toifes. 

About half an hou4: after nine in the morning, 
w^e caft anchor in the road of St. Croix, in a 
muddy bottom of black fand, about fifteen toifes 
in depth. 

The French Conful, Citizen Fontpertuis, wait- 
ed immediately upon our Commander, with an 
offer of his fervices in furnifhing us with what- 
ever we might want for the profecution of our 

I went on Ihore in the afternoon, to take a 
view of the environs of the town. Although the 
fcafon was confiderably advanced, the reflediion 
of the rays of the fun from the volcanic ftones, 
produced a degree of heat that was the more op- 
preffive as the air was perfectly calm. 


Oct.] /of i. \ PFRousEi 41 

I obferved among the plants 2;row in the 
neighbourhood of St. Croix, a woody fj>ecies of 
balm, known by botanifts under the name of 
mel'ijja frut'icofa, alfo iht faccharum tencr'tjftz, the 
cacalia kkin'ia, the datura metel, the chryjhnthetmim 
frutefcens, &c. Some of the gardens were orna- 
mented with the beautiful tree termed po'inciaua 

In the evening. Citizen Ely, being ftruck with 
the grotefque appearance of fome of the women 
in the town, \^ ho, e^■en during the greatefi: heat 
of the feafon, wear long cloaks of very coarfe 
woollen fluffs, was employed in drawing a fketch 
of one of them, when he was fuddenly inter- 
rupted by a fentlnel, who imagined him to be 
taking a plan of the harbour. It was in vain that 
he attempted to explain to him what his draught 
was intended to reprefent : the foldier would not 
fuffer him to finifli it. 

As we had anchored too clofe to another fmall 
vefTel, we cafl an anchor in the afternoon nearer 
to the fhore, by which we kept ourfelvcs at a 
convenient diflance. 

The bearings we took at this place gave us the 
following refults : 

The redoubt on the north fide of the town, 
N. N. E. 4« E. 


42 ' VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1701. 

The great tower fituated about the middle of 
the town, E. S. E. 

At fun-rife each of the forts returned our fahite 
of nine guns with an equal number. On the 
noon of the preceding day, we had faluted the 
tow^n with fifteen, as it returned us gun for gun. 

A packet-boat from Spain caft anchor to-day 
in the road-ftead. 

We had agreed to take a journey to the peak 
on the morrow, and fubfequently to vifit the 
other high mountains of the ifland in fucceffion. 
The French Conful very obligingly did all that 
was in his power, to facilitate the execution of 
our defign, and gave us letters of recommendation 
to M. de Cologant, a very refpecflable merchant, 
refident at Orotava. 

About four o'clock the next morning, our party 
aflembled upon the Mole to the number of eight; 
namely, Develle, one of the officers of our fhip, 
Piron, Defchamps, Lahaye, and myfelf,with three 
fervants, one of whom underilood the Spanifh 
language, and ferved as our interpreter. We 
foimd the mules that were to carry us at the 
fea-fide ; but it was more than an hour before we 
could fet out upon our journey, it being no eaiy 
matter to aifemble our guides, fome of whom, 
knowing that we could not fet off without them, 


Oct.] of la perol^se. 43 

made no fcruple of letting us wait till they chofe 
to make their appearance. When they had ar- 
rived we thought we fhould be able immediately 
to proceed, but we were obliged to cxpoftulate 
with them^ a long time, before they could be in- 
duced to carry the fmall fcock of necelTaries that 
we took with us upon our expedition. 

The reader will recolletl that our ihips were fo 
plentifully ftored with proviiions, that one might 
have thought we were going to fail to fome de- 
fert country. Rollel, who had i:he charge of the 
officers' table, had given orders to the cook to 
fend us an excellent falmon-pie for our journey.' 
I fhould not have mentioned fo trivial a circum- 
fiance, had it not been for tlie fake of the con- 
trafl: which it alfords v»ith the worm-eaten bif- 
cuits and cheefe, that w^ere our -ufual regale whilft 
we remained on ihore, in the fubiequent part of 
our expedition. 

Monf. de Cologant having been informed by 
the French Coniul of our intended journey, in- 
vited us to come to his houfe at the harbour of 
Orotava. This port, which is not more than 
^ about l5,oQ0 toifes diftant from St. Croix, is a 
very convenient baiting-place for thofc who viiit 
the peak ; it being fituated at the foot of the 
ncareil; mountains of the chain to which it be- 


We were three hour's before we arrired at La- 
guna. This town is only 5, 1 30 toifes diftant from 
St. Croix ; but the road thither is very fatiguing^ 
as it afcends for the greater part of the way. The 
place is meanly built, and very thinly inhabited. 
We were informed that at leaft one half of its 
inhabitants confifis of monks. 

On our way to Laguna we palTed over Ibme 
barren mountains, which were covered with a 
variety of plants of a luxurious growth. Amongft 
others v/e noticed the euphorbia cajtariejifis; the 
euphorbia dendroides, the eacalia kleinia, the cachis 
€pmitia, &c. Thefe plants, as they derive their 
nourifhment almoft entirely from the atmofphere, 
thrive very well in fpite of the fterility of the 
abrupt precipices on which they grow. When 
we defcended into the fmall plain on which the 
town ftands, v/e remarked that the mould pro- 
duced from the corruption of the vegetables, and 
wafiicd down from the furrounding mountains by 
the rain, anfwers a very ufefui purpofe in fertiliz- 
ing this little fpot of ground, fo that it yields 
abundance of corn, Indian wheat, millet, and 
other efculent plants. 

I here obferved a fpccies of the periploca, which 
I had form.erly dlfcovered during my travels in 
the Levant. I have given an account pf it in 
th« fecond decade of my defcription of the plants 


Oct.] of la perouse. 4^5 

of Syria, under the appellation of periploca anguf- 
ttfoUa. Citizen Desfontalnes has hkewife col- 
lected fonie of the fame fpecies upon the coalls of 

All the ilones that we had hitherto feen in 
thefe regions appeared to have undergone the ac- 
tion of fire. As the mountains of this chain that 
are of the mean elevation confift of large maffes, 
that after being fufed muft have retained a great 
degree of heat for a confiderabie length of time; 
I expelled to find the lavas very compatfl in their 
texture. My conje(5lure v^^as confirmed. Their 
grain is very fine, and their colour for the moli: 
part a deep brown. 

Surrounded with thefe volcanic remains, we 
ibund the heat very opprcflive, which appeared 
to incommode our guides much more than our- 
felves ; fo that they exerted all their powers of 
jDcrfuafion in order to prevail upon us to make halt 
during the day, and only travel in the night-time 
They probably imagined that our fole aim was j:o 
fee the fummit of the peak, and feveral of our 
company would have had no very great objections 
againft our journey being conduced upon that 
plan. But it is eafy to fuppofe that fuch a noc- 
turnal ramble could not promife much advantage 
to thofc whofe objed; of purfuit was the ftudy of 
natural hiflory. 



. ... » . ' 

The inhabitants ot the liland are befet with 
lehglous prejudices from their earheH; infancy. 
The cliildren came running out of their habita- 
tions to enquire if we w^ere of their rehgion ; and 
we contented ourfelves with commiferating the 
unfortunate beings, upon whom monkifh bigotry 
and intolerance exert with unbounded rigour 
their pernicious fw^ay. 

Mofl: of the garden-walls in the country be- 
yond Laguna, are ornamented with the beauti- 
ful plant called trlchomaiies cmiarmife. 

As we approached Orotava, our road led us 
dow^n a very gentle declivity. We faw no more 
fuch barren mountains as in the vicinity of St. 
Croix, where the luxuriance of the vegetable king- 
dom is only an indication of the fterility of the 
foil ; but verdant banks covered with vineyards, 
the produce of v.hich conllitutes the chief wealth 
of the ifland. The llirub tcrm^dihofcayervamora 
growls here in low fituations. 

At five o'clock in the evening wx arrived at 
Orotava, where we were received by M. dc Co- 
logant, in the moil hofpitable manner. 

Two veffels, an Englifh and a Dutch, were 
then at anchor in the road-ftcad, in order to take 
in a cargo of wine. The landing-place here is 
much more difficult of accefs than that at St. 


Oct.] of la perouse. 47 

Croix, on which account this harbour is lefs fre- 

M. de Cologant's wine-vaults were an object 
well worthy of our attention ; as the wines of the 
ifland are the principal commodity in which this 
opulent merchant trades. 

Amongft the different kinds of wine which 
they contain, there are tv/o forts that have quali- 
ties very dillind: from each other ; namely, the 
fack, or dry wine, and that which is commonly 
known by the name of malmfey. In the prepa- 
ration of the latter, care is taken to concentrate 
its faccharine principle as much as poffible. 

The price of the beft wine was then 120 piaflres 
per pipe, and that of the inferior fort Go piailres. 
> it is neceffary how^ever to remark, that I here /peak 
only of the price at w^hich it is fold to ftrangers ; 
for the fame wine which they buy at 60 piailres 
the pipe, is fold to the inhabitants of the ifland 
for fix and thirty. 

When the fermentation of thefe wines has 
proceeded to a certain length, k is the cuftom to 
mix with them a confiderable quanfity of brandy, 
which renders them fo heady, that many perfons 
are unable to drink them, even in very moderate 
quantity, without feeling difagreeable effe6ls upon 
the nervous fyftem from this admixture. 

We were afTured that the iflaud generally yields 



thirty thoufand pipes of wine in a year. As it 
does not produce a fufficient quantity of com 
for the confumption of the inhabitants, a part 
of the produce of- the wines, which are fold to 
ftrangers as Madeira wine (and indeed they differ 
very Uttle from it in quality), is expended in the 
purchafe of this indifpenfably necelTary article of 

Although the olive thrives very well in this 
ifland, it is very little cultivated. The different 
fpecies of the palm-tree that are to be met with 
in fome of the gardens, are cultivated only for cu- 

We had been aflured, before our departure 
from St. Croix, that we Ihould find the fummit 
of the peak already covered with fnow. I had 
not thought it neceifary to take a barometer with 
me at fetting out ; but I found at Orotava that I 
had been led int6 a millake ; and there I was un- 
able to procure this inftrument of obfervation *. 

We purpofed to proceed very early the next 
morning on our journey. But that happened to 

* We read, in the account of the Voyage of La Pcroufc, 
that when the fhip lay at anchor in the road of St. Croix, 
the mercury, in t!ie barometer that Lamanon liad taken 
with him, fell at the peak ofTenerilfe to 18 inches 4 lines, 
whilft the thermometer indicated 9.;° above , though, at 
the fame moment of time, the barometer flood, at St. Croix, 
at 28 inches 3 lines, and the thermometer at 24-|'. 



be a feftlval day, and our guides could not be per- 
fuaded to fet out before they had heard mafs ; 
fome of them had even heard three ah'cady : ^^ 
for us, we waited for them with the mo^ impa- 
tient folicitudc, wheji our uncafine^ was redou- 
bled by being informed that we ought to confi- 
dcr it as a very great indulgence if they would 
agree to travel at all on fo high a feilival. They 
were, however, at length ready to accompany us, 
about nine o'clock in the forenoon. 

Having left the town, we purfucd a track that 
often led us up very fteep afcents, from whence 
we cbferved enormous malles of mountains piled 
one upon the other, and forming a fort of am- 
phitheatre round the bafe of the peak. On their 
brows we frequently met \^ith level fpcts that 
lerved us for reiling-placcs, where, after ha\ ing 
fatigued ourfelves with climbing up the rugged 
paths, we flopped for a fliort time to take breath, 
and acquire freih courage for afcending the higher 

Our p-uides were aftoniflied to obfervc that 
fome of us chofe to go on foot, contrary to the 
cuftom of the greater part of thofe who make 
the tour of the peak ; and inceiTantly admoniflicd 
us to ride upon the mules which they led along 
with them. 

After having palTed through fome fine planta- 

Vol. L D tians 

,50 VOYAGE T?r SEARCH [l79T. 

tions of vines, we found ourfelves furrounded 
with chefhut- trees, which cover the moft elevated 
regiorvs of thefe mountains. 

In the clefts between the mountains, I obferved 
the polipodium vh'gmtcum, and feveral fpecies of 
the laurel that were new to me, amongft the refc 
the Jaura Indica of Linnsus. 

Although we purpofed to perform our'journey 
within a fpace of not many days, we ought to 
have provided ourfelves with a larger ftock of 
{hoes; for even the ftrongefh foles were foon 
ground to pieces by the lava on which we walked^ 

It was near noon when we arrived at the height 
of the clouds, which ipread a thick dew over the 
brufh-wood through which our road led us. 

One (hould think that the abundance of rain 
which falls upon thefe heights, in confequence of 
the natural propenfity of the atmoiphere,* muft 


* We may lierc remark, that when high mountains be- 
come much heated by the rays of the fun, ihey aft as a 
kind of Hove, by which tlie fuperincumbent atmofphcrc is 
elevated in confequence of tlie dilatation which it undergoes. 
Hence arifes the moifture of the more difiant part of the 
atmofphere, which, 'vufhing in to fapply the place of that 
which has been fent into higher regions by the aftion of 
the heat, carries v>rith it the clouds fuipended in it ; as I 
have had frequent opportunities of obferving at Mount Liba- 
non, where this phenomenon never fails to take place about 
five cv clock in the afternoon during the heats of the month 

Oct.] of la perouse. 51 

give rife to a great number of fprings. They 
are, neverthelefs, very rare ; as the earth is not 
fufficiently attenuated to retain the water, which 
filtrating through the volcanic foil, difcharges it- 
fcK, for the greater part, into the ocean, without 
collecting into regular ftreams. 

As foon as we had furmounted thefe thick 
clouds, we enjoyed a fpe<5lacle beautiful beyond 
conception. The clouds heaped up below us ap- 
peared blended with the diflant ocean, and con- 
cealed the iiland from our fight. The fky above 
us formed a vault of the moil tranfparent azure, 
whilft the peak appeared like an infulated moun- 
tain placed in the midil: of a vail expanfe of 

Soon after we had left the clouds beneath us, I 
obferved a phenomenon, which I had formerly 
had occafion to remark, during my ftay amongft 
the high mountains of Kefroan in Natolia. It 
%\ as with new furprife that I faw the outlines of 
my figure, delineated in ^11 the beautiful tints of 
the rainbow, upon the clouds below me, fituated 
oppofite to the fun. 

The decompofition of the rays of the fun, by 

of September, unlefs fome violent current of the atmo- 
iphere fhould happen to countera<El its natural difpofition. 
Perhaps this may be the fole reafon of the attraction that 
appears to cxift between mountains and clouds. 

D 2 contadl 

52 VOl-AGE IN SEARCH [l/Ql. 

conta(5l with the iurfaces of bodies, affords a very 
fatlsfadory explanation of this fplendid pheno- 
menon. It exemplifies, upon a large fcale, a fa<5l 
well known to natural philofophers ; namely, 
'that when the rays of the fan are made to ' pafs 
through a fmall hole in the window-fhutter of a 
darkened chamber, fo as to fall upon any objed; 
within it, they reprefent the outlines of the obje6l 
in all the various colours of the rainbow^, by be- 
ing collcclcd with a prlfm and thrown upon a 
white flieet of paper. 

We nov/ had to crofs a prodigious heap of pu- 
mice-llones, amongft which we obferved very few 
vegetables, and thofe in a very languifhing condi- 
tion. Tht Jpartlnm was the only fhrub that could 
fupport itfelf in thefe elevated regions. It was 
very troublcfome walking upon this \t)lcanlc foil, 
as we funk Into it up to the middle of the leg. 
We found fome blocks of 'pozzolana iparingly 
fcattcrcd among the punucc-carth. 

At nine o'clock in the evening we took up our 
abode fcDr tlie night in the midil; of the lava. 
Some large fragments tliat wc found, were our 
only flidtcr'againft the eafr wind, which blew 
,with.confiderable violence. The cold was very 
. iiitenfe at this height,, where nature has not con* 
'-Suited the convenience of travellers, as very little 
wood is found' here; To that the fcanty fuel that 


Oct.] ctf la perouse. 53 

we were able to coliedrl, was not liifEcicnt to pre- 
vent us from paffing a verv' unplcaiant night. 

The day at length began to dawn. Wc left 
fome of our guides with their mules at tl\e place 
where we had fpcnt the night, and proceeded oa 
our journey to the peak, v,hich wc were now in 
halte to accomplifh. 

Wc continued, for the fpacc of an hour, to 
travel over large heaps of fragments of a grejiih 
coloured lava, amongit which fome blocks of poz- 
zolana wxre fcattered, as alio, huge maflcs of a 
very compact blackiili glafs, which bore a great 
refemblance to the coarfe glais of bottles. This 
glafs, though formed in the valt crucibles of the 
mountains at the time of their combuilion, mii^ht 
become very ufeful in the arts ; lor being already 
completely manufa(5tured by the hapd of nature, 
it would only require to be expofed to the action 
of the fire in order to fufe it anew% and render 
it fufceptible of being moulded into all the forms 
that the hand of man is able to give to it. 

We arrived at the mouth of a cavern called Li 
qzicve del anay the orifice of which is full foiir feet 
and a half in diameter. As its cavity runs for a 
length of more than fix feet in an almoft hori- 
zontal dired:ion, we were not able to reach the 
bottom othcrwife than by defccnding into it with 
the help of a rope. We- found that it contained 

D 3 water. 

54 VOYAGE IN S^'ARCH [l7Ql' 

water, the furface of which, as was to have been 
expected at this height, was covered with ice 
about an inch and a half thick. We immediately 
made a hole in the ice, and regaled ourfelves with 
fome excellent water. I did not feel any of thofe 
difagreeabie fenfations in the throat, v/hich I have 
often experienced on the French Alps, from drink- 
ing the water which iiTues from the foot of the 
Glaciers; although the cold ofthe water in this 
cavern was one degree lower than that generally 
indicated by the Vv^ater of the Glaciers, for upon 
plunging a thermometer into it, it fell to the 
freezing point. It feems that the difagreeabie 
pricking fenfation occafioncd by the water of the 
Glaciers in the internal Jauces, arifes from its be- 
ing deprived of its atmofpherical air. 

The roof of the cavern was covered with cr\'i- 
tals of faltpetre. 

Piron, who had been indifpofed for feveral 
days, found himfelf fo overcome with fatigue as 
to be unable to proceed any further, Defchamps 
alfo chofe to remain with him at the cavern : as 
for the reffc of us, we fet forward on our afcent to 
the fummit of the peak. 

Having reached its bafe, we faw it elevate it- 
felf before us in the fhape of a cone, to a prodi- 
gious height, forming the crown of the higheft 
of thefc mountains. From this fpot car view 


Oct.] of la terouse. 56 

extended over all the reft of the mountains, which 
feemed to form fo many gradations, that muft firft 
be furmounted before wc can arrive at this com- 
manding eminence. 

At the place called La Ramhktfe, fituatcd on 
the north-eaft fide of the peak, our curiofity Ayas 
excited by fome clefts made in the rock, a few of 
whfch were three inches wide ; the reft were 
merely cracks, from which ilfued an aqueous va- 
pour that had no fmell, although the fides of the 
chinks were covered with cryftals of fulphur^ 
fhooting out from a very white earth, which ap- 
peared to be of an argillaceous nature. 

A mercurial thermometer being introduced into 
one of the clefts, the quickfilver rofe, in the fpace 
of a minute, to 43" above of Reaumur's fcale. 
In feveral of the others it did not rife higher 
than ao''. 

We were now engaged in the moft toilfome 
part of our journey, the acclivity of the peak be- 
ing exceedingly ft;eep. When we had furmounted 
about a third part of the afcent, I made a hole 
about three inches deep into the earth, from 
w^ience an aqueous inodorous vapour iffued, and 
though the heat of the furface of the earth was 
not greater than it ufually is at an equal elevation, 
upon plunging a thermometer into it the mer- 
cury rofe to 5i° above o. 

D 4 The 


The fparUum fupra mibiurn was the laft Ihrub 

that I noticed before we arrived at the foot of the 

cone ; biit there is an herbaceous plant v/hich, 

notvv ithilanding its apparent delicacy, vegetates 

even in ilill higher fitaations. I mean a fpccies 

oP violet wath leaves foniewhat elongated, and 

fligjhfly indented at the edges ; its flowering time 

was already paft. We obferved it to grow quite 

near to the fummit of the peak. 

'" The vapours of the atmofphcre not being able 

to rife to this height, the ftcy prefents itfelf in the 

ptireft azure, which is more bright and dazzling. 

than what we can fee in the cleareft weather 

of our climates. Though fome fcattered clouds 

hung in the atmofphere far below our feet, we 

had ftill a very perfe6l view of the neighbouring 


The cone is terminated by a crater, the greateft 
elevation of which is on the north-eaft fide. Its 
fouth-weft fide has a deep deprcffion, which 
feems to have been produced by the fuiking of the 

Near to the top are feveral orifices about three 
inches in diameter, from wdiich a very hot vapour 
ifTues, that made Reaumur's thermometer rife to 
(^7*^ above o, emitting a found very like that of 
the humming of bees. When the fnow begins 
to fall on the ilimmit of the' peak" in the latter 


Oct.] of la perouse. 57 

part of the year, that which falls upon thcfe orir 
fices is foon melted by the heat. The fides iof 
thefe holes are adorned with beautiful cryflals of 
fulphur, moftly of the form of needles, and fome 
of them arranged into very regular iisrures. The' 
acflion of the fulphuric acid combined with the 
WT.ter, efFedls fuch a change upon the volcanic 
products of this place, that at firft fight one might 
miftake them for very white argillaceous earth, 
that has acquired a high degree of dudility from 
the moill:ure conftantly ifluing from the above- 
mentioned apertures. It is in this kind of earth 
that the lulphuric cryftals wdiich I have fpoken of 
are found. 

The decompofition of the fulphur, and the volt 
canic products, form an aluminous fait that covers 
the ground in needles, which have very little co- 
hefion with each other. 

The thermometer, when placed in the fluade 
at the height of about three feet from the furface 
of the ground at the fummit of the peak, rofe in 
a quarter of an hour to ] 5° above 0. No fenfible 
variation \^ as obfcrved upon changing its diftance 
from the earth, even by fix or eight feet, which 
gives us rcp.ion to believe, that the internal heat 
of the ground in this place, though fo very great, 
has little influence upon the temperature of the 
atmofpherc. Befides, the air of the atmofphcrc 



inight eafily be heated at this height by the rajs of 
the fun to 15*^, as a higher temperature is often 
experienced at the foot of the Glaciers. I have 
often known the thermometer to ftand at 20** 
above upon mount Libanon, though placed 
quite clofe to the fnow. 

The declivity of the mountain facilitated our 
return, and we defcended much quicker than we 
had afcended. It was already evening before we 
reached the place w^here we had pafled the pre- 
ceding night. The almoft total want of fleep, 
which we had experienced in confequence of the 
intenfe cold, gave us little courage to fpend an- 
other night at the fame place. We therefore 
«wiflicd to proceed immediately farther, in order 
to feek a better flielter upon fome of the neigh- 
bouring mountains ; but as our guides would not 
move a ftep before the moon rofe, we were com- 
pelled to remain there till near midnight, waiting 
for its appearance. With the affiftance of its 
feeble light, wede fcended over the pumice-floncs, 
following pretty clofely the track which we had 
made for ourfelves in our afcent. 

After a march of four hours, the brufli-wood, 
which grew very thick, obftru6led our way fo 
much, that we were obliged to halt till day-break. 
We had here abundance of fuel, and made our- 
felves amends for the cold of the preceding night, 


Oct.] of la perouse. 5g 

by immediately kindling a very large iire. Moft 
of our company were fo very much fatigued with 
their toilfome journey, that they had no other 
wifti left than to make the bell of their way back 
to St. Croix ; although we had agreed at fettin^ 
out from Orotava, that we would return by the 
oppofite fide of the moimtains. But as we were 
no longer all of the fame mind, it was fettled 
that thofe who had already fatisfied their curio- 
sity, fhould return to the fhips ; whilfi: the gar- 
dener and m.yfelf alone refolved to complete our 
iirft defign. All our guides w~ifhed to accompany 
thofe who were returning to the fhips, fo that it 
was with great difficulty that I could perfuadc 
one of them to attend us. 

1 was gratified with finding among the plants 
that grew on the fides of the rocks, the campanula 
aurea, the prenanthejphmala, the adiantum renU 
forme, and a fpecies of the cetcrac, remarkable on 
account of its leaves^ which are much larger than 
thofe of the European fpecies. 

As thefe mountains afford very little water, we 
direded our courfe towards a fmall habitation, 
vdiere we prefumed wefhould find ourfelves near 
to fome ftream of water. We were not difap- 
pointed, for we came to a very fine fpring of de- 
iicious limpid water, which loft itfelf again un- 


drr the ground^ after having but juft appeared 
abGv,eits furtacg. 

Appk-tfees loaded with fruit adorned the gar- 
den of ttieie" peaceable cottagers. This fruit tafted 
io^ delicious to the fervanf who accompanied us, 
that he took it into- his head^ whilil ^e were em- 
ployed in viewing the premifes, to make an ex- 
change that gave us a very poor idea of his iore- 
iighto He had given away our whole ftore ot 
iiefli-meat for fome of thefe apples, without tak- 
ing a moment's confideration whether or not they 
•would be an equally good provifion for us in tra- 
velling the mountains. We fwore to ourfelves 
that we would never on a future expedition leave 
our ftores in the charge of fuch an oeconomift. 
In general it may be remarked, that the fervants 
employed at fea are alm.ofl wholly unfit lor fer- 
vice on lliore. 

At the clofe 'of the evening we w^ere far from 
any habitation of men. About nine o'clock we 
reached a village, the inhabitants of which can 
certainly not be accufed of carrying the virtue of 
hofpitality to a blameable excefs. It was not with- 
out the greateft difficulty that we were able to 
procure llielter among them. As we did not un- 
derftand the Spanilli language, we were obliged 
. to make ufc of figns to cxprefs our meaning, a 


Oct.] or la "perqusf-. - 6i 

language tliat., in the night time at leaft, is a very 
imperfcd: means of communication ; but our 
guide, who was no lefs defirous of going to bed 
than we were, wxnt knocking in vain at one door 
after the other, till having gone round ah-noft the 
■whole village, we at length found two charitable 
fouls who a2;reed to harbour us. 

We were immediately ferved with a frugal re- 
paft, during which the houfe was lighted in the 
manner that is prai^ifed by fome of the inhabi- 
tants of the Alps. They fet fire to fmall fpiinters 
of very refmous w^ood, ftuck into the wall, which, 
afford plenty of light, but throw out a great deal 
of fmoke. One of our hofls took the charge iipon 
himfelf of lighting new fpiinters of wood as fall: 
as the former were coniumed. 

We ftood much more in need of ilecp than of 
meat, and haflened to enjoy a repofe, which 
proved the more dele<51:able, as w^e were here no 
more incommoded with the cold we had experi- 
enced on the high mountains. 

On the following day, the IQth, I went on 
board with my collection of volcanic produclis and 
fome very fine fpecimens of plants, fuch as the 
teucr'mm betonkum, the efclihim frutefcensy &c. 

The birds known by the name. of Canary-birds 
are very common in the lower regions of thefe 
mountains ; their colour is a brown mixed- with 


62 VOYAGE f^ search: [179I/ 

Tarious other hues, and their plumage is not fo 
beautiful in their wild ftate, as it becomes when 
they are domeflicated. Some travellers have af- 
fertcd, that an indigenous fpecies of the parrot 
is found in thefe iflands ; but I hav^e never feen 
any in my excurfions, and feveral credible perfonsy 
among the inhabitants have afTured me that this 
^flertion is deftitute of foundation. 

A very ftiff gale, which fprung up to-day, 
caufed the fca to fwell to fuch a height, as to 
drive on Ihore the pinnace of the Efperance, after 
having overfet it upon one of the failors, w^ho 
could not be extricated in iefs than a fpace of fe- 
veral minutes. He was already fuffocated to a 
great degree ; but the means ufually employed in 
thefe cafes proved fuccefsful in reftoring him to 

Whilft I here exprefs my gratitude to the gar- 
rifon of St. Croix, for the alacritj with which 
they haftened to the relief of this unfortuneite 
failor ; I cannot pafs over in filencc a piece of 
knavery committed upon this occaiion by fome 
of the natives. 

Whilft we were adminiflering our affiftance to 
this man, we had hung up his clothes to dry, 
little fufpcding what Ihould happen. Some of 
the inhabitants of the town, perhaps conceiving 
him already dead, thought fit to appropriate his 


Oct.] of la ferouse. 63 

clothes to the ufe of the hving : they were ac- 
cordingly carried off, and all purfuit after the 
robbers was in vain. 

Citizens Riche and Blavier, engaged in the 
ftudy of natural hiftory, had undertaken a jour- 
ney to the peak the day after we had fet out upon 
ours ; but they did not fucceed in reaching the 
fummit ; for whilft they were ftill at a confidcr- 
able diftance from it, their lungs being unable to 
accommodate themfeivcs to the rarefied atmo- 
iphere, they were feized with a fpitting of blood, 
which obliged them to relinquifli their entcr- 

The following days were employed bv us in 
viiitins!; the environs of St. Croix, where the coun- 
try is in general very barren. 

The town is very thinly peopled, even in pro- 
portion to the fmallnefs of its extent ; though 
the harbour here is more frequented than aiiv 
other in the ifiand. The Spaniards have intro- 
duced here tlscir own manner of building. The 
dlllribution of the internal part of the houfes is. 
the fame with that which they pra6tife in Eu- 
rope, without any of thofe modifications which 
the difference of the climate requires. 

The Governor-general of the Canary-iflands 
ufually refides at St. Croix. There are feveral 
convents of monks and nuns in this place. One 



of the parochial churches here is equally remark- 
able for the taftelefs profufioii with which the 
gilding is laviflicd upon it, and the bad choice of 
its paintings. 

In the market-place there is a fine fountain, 
the water of which is conveyed from a great dif- 
tance by wooden pipes through the mountains. 
The ftreets are ill-paved ; moil of the windows 
are. without glafs-panes, lattices being ufed in- 
ilead of them, which the women very frequently 
open, when curiofity, or any other motive; 
prompts them to let themfelves be feen. 

Women of condition drefs after , the French 
fafhion ; thofe of the lower ranks cover their 
Ihoulders with a piece of coarfe woollen itutf. 
which formes a fort of cloak very incommodiou.- 
m this hot climate ; broad-brimmed hats of telt 
ilielter their faces from the ravs of the fun ; in^- 
tsrmarriages with the natives render their com- 
plexions darker than thofe of their countrywo- 
men ; and their features are upon the whole ra- 
ther difacrreeablc. 


The multiplicity ot religious obfcrvances prac- 
tifedby the inhabitants were not fufficientto pre- 
vent the v/omcn from going, with their chaplets 
in their hands, to meeiiour iailors, whenever they 
came on fnore, fomc of vvhom have had to re- 

Oct.] of la perouse. 05 

pent for a long time their having been feduced 
bj fuch a fuperabvindance of attractions. 

The wine of Teneriffe, which, as I have already 
obferved, is very heady, was likely to have been: 
the caufc of very fatal confequences to one of our 
failors, who, in a fit of intoxication, committed 
a very heinous offence upon a fentinel. The 
French Conful, however, made ufe of his intereft 
with the officer who had the command during 
the abfence of the Governor-general, fo as to 
prevent any cognizance being taken of the mat- 
ter. The difcjpline obferved on board the Eng- 
lilh ftiips cftediually fecures them from any of 
thefe difligreeable occurrerices. 

The Scorpion floop of war, of fixteen guns 
and one hundred men, commanded by captain 
Benjamin Hallowell, had caft anchor in the 
roads on the 18th, conforted by a fmall cutter. 
They had failed from Madeira five days before, 
where they had left a veiTel of fifty guns, which 
was expedted foon to arrive at Teneriffe. Com- 
modore Englefield who commanded it, had alfo 
the general command of this fmall armament 
.which was defliined for the coaft of Africa. 
Thefe officers, aware of the danger to which 
bailors are expofed whilft they remain on fl.ore, 
kept them as much as poffibk onboard; and 

Vol. I. E never 


never fuffered them to quit the lliip but when 
the exigences of the armament required it. The 
Commodore was refolved to keep ftri6tly to this 
regulation, during the whole time that he lliould 
be ftationed on the coaft of Africa. 

The variation of the needle was found by an 
average of fixteen obfervations taken on board, 
fourteen of the azimuth and two of the ortivc 
amplitude, to be 8*^ 7' f E. 

The refult of two obfervations taken by Citizen 
Bertrand, one of the aftronomers to the expe- 
dition, on the terrace of a houfe in the town, 
gave 21° 33' E. 

The obfervations taken on board appeared more 
to be confided in than the others, as they agreed 
with the progreffive diminution of the variation 
w^hich we had obferved fmce our departure from 
Brell, and with the obfervations that had been' 
taken long fmce by different other navigators. 

The dip of the needle was now at 52° 2^\ 
The fame needle had pointed 71° 30'' at Brefb, 
and 72° 50' at Paris. 

The place where we lay at anchor in the road 
of TenerifFe was 28° 29' 2>^'^ N. lat. 18' 8(3' E. 

The thermometer and barometer, obferved on 
board towards noon, varied very little during our 



(lay in this place. The former never roic above 
20^ tw^o tenths, nor the latter above 28 inches 
two lines. 

The ftation of St; Croix is a very excellent 
one, on account of the plentiful fupply wliich it 
affords of all forts of European kitchen-vege-' 
tables, cabbages excepted, which, though very 
fmall, are fold at an exorbitantly high price; 
Moft of the orchard-fruits of Europe are likev.'iffe 
to be met with here, and the fame domeftic 
animals as in the ports of France. 

Experience had taught us that the flieep of this 
ifland do not bear confinement on board fo well as 
ours. The pure air which they have been accuf- 
tomed to breathe on the mountains where they 
feed, renders them the more fufceptible of injury 
from the impure air between-decksi 

Teneriffe alfo affords great abundance of dried 
filli. They particularly carry on an extenfive traf- 
fic with the fpecies termed bonite. 

Thofe parts of the ifland upon which the labour 
.of cultivation has been beflowed, are very fertile, 
as is generally the cafe in volcanic iflands. The 
internal heat of the earth which forms their bafis^ 
exhales towards the furfice of the ground a por- 
tion of the rain-water which they have imbibed, 
which produces a remarkably luxuriant vegeta- 

E2 On 


On the other hand the too flow decompofitlon 
of fome of thefe volcanic ftones, and the extreme 
dr}^nefs of fome of the mountains, render many 
parts of the ifland unfit for cultivation. The 
a<5lion of the fire to v^hich they have been ex- 
pofed at different periods after long intervals, as 
is attefled by hiftoiical records, together with the 
flielter which they feceive from the plants pecu- 
liar to thofc fituations, retarding in many places 
that gradual decompofition which would other- 
wife have taken place, had they been left entirely 

No volcanic eruption had hctn known in this 
ifland, fmce that which broke out ninety-two 
years ago, till in the month of May, 1 796, a new- 
eruption tG'ok place on the fouth-eaf^ fide of the 
peak, as I was informed by Citizen Gicquel, offi- 
cer of naarlnes, who fpent fome time at St. Croix 
on his return in the frigate La Kegeneree from the 
Ifle de France, 

I fhall infcrt the account which I received of 
this event from Citizen le Gros, Conful of the 
French Republic, 

'* On the 2lfl day of May, 1796, the inhabi- 
tants of St. Croix heard fome hollow reiterated 
founds, very like the diftant report of cannon ; in 
the night-time they felt a flight trembling of the 


Oct.] ©f la perguse, 6q 

earth, and on the followhig morning a volcano 
was obferved to have broken out on the fouth-cail 
iide of the peak. Paring the firft days after its 
eruption, it appeared to have fifteen mouths, their 
number was foon reduced to twelve, and at the 
j^ijid of a month only two were to be feen, which 
threw out with their Java large mafles of rock, 
that often prel^rved their l^ne of projection for a 
ipace of fifteen feconds before they fell to the 

Before our arrival at Teneriffe our veflels had 
been fo encumbered with their ftores, that we 
icarcely ki>ew how to 4ifpofe of our crew. 

£ a ■ CHAP, 



JFe depart from Tenertffe, andfst fall for the Cape 
of Good Hope — Ohfervatmis — Splendid Appear- 
ance of the Surface of the Sea, produced h\ phof- 
phor'ic Ljght — The mofi general Caife of the 
Phofphorefcence of the Sea-water afcertained — 
Four of our Sheep which we had brought from 
Teneriffe are throw)n into the Sea — Moderate 
Temperature cf the Atmofphere near the Line — 
The Variation of the Compafs greater on the South 
than on the North Side of the Equator — Eajy 
Method of rendering ftagnated Water frefli — 
Thick Fog, which caufes the Mercury in the Ba- 
rometer to rife — Lunar Rainbow — Arrival at 
the Cape of Good Hope. 

VERY high fwell of the fea had prevented 
us almofc two days from getting our provi- 
fions on board. We were not ready to fet fail till 
the 23dofOdober. 

We endeavoured at the firft dawn to get under 
way. All our boats had been taken on board the 
preceding day as foon as w^e had unmoored ; as 
we wiflied to take advantage of the land-wind, 
•which blows here almoft every morning. It was 


Oct.] of la perouse. 71' 

likewife neceflary that wc lliould put out to fea 
before the flood-tide, which was expc(^ed to fet 
in about half an hour after five. 

We held by a cable to the Englifh corvette/ 
I cannot omit this opportunity of commending 
the polite behaviour of the Enghfh captain, who 
gave us, in the moil obliging manner, every af- 
fiilance that we flood in need of to enable us to 
get under way. Our Commander on his part 
had likewife done him every fervice in his power, 
when he came to anchor in the roads a few days 
after our arrival. One of the anchors of the Eng- 
lifli floop helped us to heave down, and having 
fpread our fails, wc fleered off from the coafl 
under a flight breeze, which did not continue 
long enough for the Efperance to take advantage 
of it, although fhe had unfurled her fails a few 
minutes after our vefTel. Carried away by the 
flood, the force of which had not at firfl been 
perceived, fhe was obliged to cafl a fmall anchor, 
by which fhe hauled, in order to keep off from the 
coaft while flie endeavoured to fland clear of the 
vefTels about her. 

At half after nine o'clock fhe flood towards us. 
We then dire(5led our courfe S. S. E» 

At noon we were in 28® 5^ 40^' N. lat. 18° 
3G' 40" E. long. At this fpot we fet the peak of 

E 4 TenerifFc 


TenerifFe E. 28^ N. and the eaftern point of the 
illand of Canary E. 24° S. 

We then fleered, about one o'clock in the af- 
ternoon, S. E. S. with a view to pafs between the 
Cape Verd iflands and the main land. We had a 
pretty frefli eaft breeze, 

About fix in the evening the illand Gomere bore 
N. 380E. 

On the 2(5th, the Efperance told us her longi- 
tude, after having enquired to know ours. The 
great difference between the longitude of our 
reckoning, and that taken by obfervation, threw 
us into fome uncertainty, which induced us to 
bear down two rhomb-lines ftarboard from our 
former S. E. S. courfe ; but fubfequent obferva- 
tions determined us to refunie our firft dire^ion. 
The w^eather was very fine, and wo, had nothing, 
to fear from approaching the African coaft : be- 
fides, we knew from our foundings that it was 
many leagues diftant. 

On the following morning we were out of fight 
of land, which convinced us that the obfervations. 
taken on board the Efperance were erroneous. 

We croffed the Tropic of Cancer about one 
o'clock in the afternoon, in 20^ E. long. The 
barometer indicated 28 inches 2 4-5ths lines. 

The firft fifh that would bite at the hook of 


Oct.] of la perouse. 73 

our fifhermen, was a very fine dorado (coryphcena 
hyppurusj . This was fufficient to put the whole 
crew in motion ; but the fiflierman had the mor- 
tification of finding only a part of its gills upon 
his hook, as he had drawn the line too haftily. 

Since our departure from TencrifFe the wind 
had blown pretty ileadily from the N. E. point. 

A fwallow of the common fpecies (hlrundo ru- 
ftica), undoubtedly lately come from Europe, foU 
lowed us for fome time, without lighting upon 
the vefTel ; but foon direded its flight right to- 
wards the African coafl, where it was fure of 
finding the infedis on which it feeds. We wer(5-< 
now about 28° N. lat. 22'^ 30^ E. long. 

As there was very little wind, we obferved a 
great number of the medufa caravela floating upon 
t]ie furface of the water. This plant fliould not 
be touched unguardedly, as, like many other kinds 
of fea-nettles, it raifes blifters upon the hand, that 
afterwards become very painful. 

The fpecies of remora, known by the name of 
echineis remora, generally follows the Ihark, as it 
finds fufficient nourifliment in the excrements of 
that voracious filh. It does not, however, at- 
tach itfclf fo cxclufively to the fliark as not to 
follow other large fillies alfo, and even veffels, to 
w^hich it fixes itlelf when it is fatigued with fwim- 



- In the night we obferved that our vefTcl was 
followed by a, large fhoal of dorados. As they 
f\\"am much fafter than we failed, they often moved 
in a circtilar courfe round our veffcl with incre- 
dible fwiftnefs. Although the night was very 
dark, it was eafy to follov^^ them with the eye> 
as they leave a luminous track behind them. This 
phofphoric light, produced in the agitated water 
of the fea, appears the more brilHant in propor- 
tion to the darkncfs of the night, and the velo- 
city with which the fifhes move ; fo that we were 
able to difcern their track very diftindlly, although 
they f^vam feveral feet below the furface of the 
water. " 

30th. We were now intho^ feas that abound 
with voracious filhes, fuch as the bonito, the tunny ^ 
and others of the fame ctafs, which find plenty of 
food amongft the different fpecies of fifh on which 
they prey ; the principal of which is the flying- 
f:{\\ (exocostns volitans, Linn.). The bonitos that 
followed us were eafily caught by our fifliermen, 
though they ufed no other bait than a bunch of 
feathers, bound up fo as to refemble a flying-fifh^ 
within which the hook was concealed. 

We had been almoft becalmed for fome time, 
but the regular winds began to recover their force- 
They were again interrupted on the 3d of No- 
vember by a ftorm^ which continued during the 


Nov.] OF LA PEROL-SE. 75 

whole night ; the next morning they blew as on 
the preceding days. On the (3th they left us at 
9^ & N. lat. 21^ £. long. 

The heat was nov7 exceffive, though the ther- 
mometer was only 23° above O of Pteaumur's 

A bird, called by BufFon goeland noir (larut 
martnus, Linn.), ha^mg lighted upon one of the 
yards, efcaped from a faiior, who had climbed up 
the maft, in the very inflant when he was about 
to feize it. 

A prodigious number of bonitos followed us 
day and night ; and it was a matter of great afto- 
nifhment to us, that they were able to keep up 
with us fo long without taking any reft. 

The motteux of Buffon (motacllla amant/ie, 
Linn.), fatigued with its long iiight over the fea, 
lighted upon our veirel, and fuffered itfelf to be 

We W'Cre becalmed for feventeen days in lat. 
5° N. We afterwards had Itorms, followed by 
fqualls, that varied from E. N. E. to S. S. W. 
having veered round by fouth. 

The tempeft-bird (prQccllar'ia pelagica, Linn.) 
is not fo fure an indication of a ftorm, but that 
its appearance is often followed by a calm of (c- 
veral days duration. It was a pleafmg fight to 
pbferve thele little birds flying dole to the ftern 


^6 VOYAGE IN SEAI^CH [3 79l> 

of 0ur veiTel, in quefl of their food, which they 
find upon the fur face of the ocean. 

We were mortified to find that the v€2;etables 
and fruits, which we had bought at Teneriffcj 
did not keep-, as their corruption was greatly ac 
ceierated by the heat and moifture that prevails 
during the calms of this zone. We had reafon 
to believe that as they had been gathered in a 
yeiy hot and dry climate, they would have kept 
much better than thofe of Europe. 

A fiiiall fliark fjqnalus carcharias, Linn.) fell a 
ifidlim to his voracioufnefs. As foon as they had 
hauled him on deck, he was immediately cut in 
pieces, and every one had his fhare. The fhark 
however is very poor food ; for befides the natural 
abhorrence which the flefh of an anima} that de- 
vours human bodies muft excite, it is very diffi- 
cult of digcftion : but at fea we cannot choofe 
our difhes, and frelli provifions are always pre- 
ferable to faked. 

I found attached to the higher orifice of his fto- 
ynach a number of worms of the genus dorh of 
Linnasus. They were about an inch and a half 
in length, and did not eafily let go their hold, al- 
though the iliark was dead. I obferved therti 
now and then flioot out the two ioitacula that 
iDelong to the chara(!:ferillics of this genus. 

The fituation of the mouth of the fliark, under. 



Ills long upper jaw, obliges him to turn himfelf 
almoft round upon his back in order to fcize any 
objed: abt)Te him ; fo that his white belly, which 
the transparency of the fea-water renders diftin- 
guifliablc even at a great depth below the furfaccj 
points out to the fifhcrman the exaft moment 
\vhen he ought to draw his line, in order to fafteii 
this voracious iifli to his hook. 

Nature has amply provided it with the means 
of fecuring its prey ; for befides feveral rows of 
■ teeth formed in the manner moft adapted for pe- 
netrating the hardeft bodies, the internal part of 
the mouth is likewife furniilied with various ai- 
peritics that ferve to prevent the egrefs of any 
fubflance that it has laid hold of 

Had we been trading to India, vre iliould not 
have failed to collet a quantity of the fins of 
this fifh, as they are in great requeft amongft the 
Chinefe, who believe them to be a very powerful 

When the air was calm tlic heat was extremely 
opprefnve : the thermometer however flood no 
higher than 23^; although we were not mo:«c 
than g° north of the equator. Our longitude 
was 20° 50^ eaft. It appears that in thefe parts 
the thermometer affords a very inadequate ftand- 
ard of the fcnfible heat of the atmofpherc ; for 
though it indicated feveral degrees lower than 



.what we frequently experience in the warm furn- 
mer weather of Europej the heat threw us into 
a moil: profufe perfpiration, which gave rife to 
very troublefome effervefcenccs of the blood. 

Between the tropics, the mercury in the ba- 
rometer {lands at a very uniform height. We 
never obferved it to vary more than an mch and 
a half, more or lefs. It generally flood at 28 
inches 2 lines, although the atmofphere was of- 
ten agitated by violent ftorms, which being ge- 
nerated in the interior of Africa, from the coaft of 
which we were not more than about 300,000 
-toifes diftant, were brought over to us by winds 
from N. E. and E. N. E. . 

12th. We here caught the fifh known among 
the Ichthyologifts by the name of halltjlesverriico- 
fus. A great number of a fmall fpecies of whaks 
(fovffieurs) fwam about our fliips, followed in 
their tardy courfe by fliarks which fed upon their 

A fquall from the S. E. gave us intimation of 
the gales from the fame quarter, that prevailed in 
the diftant regions under the equator ; though 
they blow there generally from the N. E. during 
this feafon, when the fun remains almoft two 
months within the Tropic of Capricorn. 

1 4th. A fhark that had been preceded by ajium- 
.ber of the fillies called /i/o/j (gajlerojieus dn5iot\ 


Nov.] OF LA PEROUS-E.' f9 

Linn.), was caught by our fallors. Some remoras> 
that thought themfelves in fafety as long as they 
remained fixed to the body of the fliark, kept 
their hold ftill for a confiderable time after the fifh 
had been brought upon deck. 

As the weather was exceffivelv hot, and the 
fea very tranquil, Piron and S.aint-Agnan, unable 
to refiil their defire of cooling themfelves by 
bathing, plunged themfelves a few hours after- 
wards into the fea, at the hazard of becoming the 
prey of another fhark. 

It had rem-ained calm almoft the whole day; 
but about eight in the evening the fkies were 
covered to the fouth-eaft with thick clouds, that 
portended a violent ftorm. The night was very 
dark ; and foon a luminous column of immenie 
height was feen to defcend from thefe clouds, 
and illumine the furface of the water. The 
fcintiilation of the fea was for fomc time inter- 
rupted by feveral intervals, during which it w^as 
quite dark ; when all of a fudden the whole fur- 
face of the fea appeared covered with a fheet of 
fire, extending in our dired;ion. This fheet was 
pufhed along by a very high gale, wjiich raifed 
the waves to a great pitch ; and we faw ourfelves 
furrounded with a fea of flames, which afforded 
one of the moft brilliant fpe(5laclcs in nature. 
This phenomenon very foon difappcared ; but the 


86 VofAG^ IJT SEARCH [l/Ql- 

Tea appeared during the whole night mtich more 
luminous than ufual wherever it was agitated, 
particularly at the wake of the fhip and the top 
iof the waves. 

The force of the gale had obliged us to flrike 
bur top-fails, and even to bear down, for fear of 
being taken a-back. 

The heat had been very oppreffive during the 
whole day. We were now failing off the im- 
menfe gulph formed by the coafts of upper Gui- 
nea, the fliorcs of which extend almoft 1,500>000 
toifes to the eaftwatd. 

The fea is much more phofphoric in the vici- 
nity of the coafts fituated between the tropics, 
than any where elfe, becaufe thofe animals, upon 
which' its phofphorefcence depends, abound 
there much more than in any other part of the 
ocean : a h^.^ which I have had opportunity of 
Remarking in parts of the ocean very diftant 
from each other. I fhall enter into fom.e invef- 
tigation of this phenomenon. 

As we had this gulph under our lee, the cur- 
rents had carried over to us many of the luminous 
fubflances with which it abounds ; but it re- 
quired the concurrence of another circumftance 
in order to produce fo vivid a light as we v/it- 
nftifed. The clouds that hung over the quarter 
from whence the wind arofe, had imparted to the 


Nov.] ' OF LA PEROUSE. 81 

atmofphere a fuperabundance of ele<5lricity, which 
was one of the principal agents in producing the 
luminofity of the water. 

The electric ftate of the atmofphere was proved 
to me by the unufual repulfion between the two 
balls of my electrometer. 

1 5th. A flight breeze from the fouth-eaft led us 


to hope that we fliould foon be delivered from the 
calms, that prevail to a greater extent in thefe fitu- 
ations than in any other part of the ocean. Thefe 
differences are particularly obfervable upon a voy- 
age to India, and appear to depend chiefly upon 
the vicinity of the African coafl, to which fliips, 
failing from Europe to the Cape, approach much 
nearer, than thofe which fail from the Cape to 
Europe : thus the former voyages generally re- 
quire a longer fpace of time to be accompliflied 
than the latter. 

Many able feamen think it advifable to crofs 
the Line much further to the eaflward than is 
commonly done. 

The calms which prevail northward of the 
equator depend upon the configuration of the 
African coafl, which projects, at the diflance of 
a few degrees from the Line, nearly 1,500,000 
toifes eaftward ; whilfc the great diflance at which 
one fails from the coaft, after having crofTed the 
equator, prevents the winds, generally prevalent 

Vol. I. F in 

i2 T0YAGE IN SEAS C If [irO'I- 

in this part of the ocean, from being modified hy 
the land breezes. 

I had kept feme bottles of the fea- water, which 
I had coHed;ed the night before, during its phof- 
phorefcence, for the purpofe of examining the 
fmall luminous fubftances which occafion thi? 
phenomenon. Having inclofed fome of this water 
in a vial, I agitated it in the dark, and prefentlj 
obierved luminous globules arifmg within it, 
which appeared perfedlly fimilar to thofe that are 
feen in the agitated water of the ocean. I tried 
the fimple experiment of feparating thefe parti- 
cles from the water, in order to learn whether it 
would flill retain its phofphorefcent quality. Upon 
filtrating if, by means of a piece of blotting-paper, 
a number of minute tranfparent particles, gelati- 
nous: in their confidence, and of a globular form. 
were left upon the filtre. The w^ater had now 
entirely lofi: its phofphorefcent quality, which I 
again reftored to it by mixing it with thofc par- 
ticles. If thefe fmall animalcula be expofed for 
any confiderable time to the air, they lofe thelf 
phofphorefcent properties. 

I have frequently repeated the fame experiment 
upon water collected in different parts of the 
ocean, and have uniformly found it to contain 
the fame fort of animalcula, which I therefore 
confidcr to be the principal caufe of the phof- 

• phorefence 

Nov.] OF LA PEliOUSEi 83 

phorefcence of the fea. Other fubftances, how-* 
ever, poiTefs Ukewife the property of giving this 
appearance to the fea ; for many fpecies of the 
crab, and other marine infe6ls of confiderable 
bulk, fometirries afcend from its bottom, and give 
a luminous appearance to the furfaCe. I have 
feen fome of thefe phofphoric animals of more 
than half a foot in length, but they were always 
accompanied by the fmall animalcula above men- 
tioned. - 

We were informed to-day that they had thrown 
into the fea, from on board the Efperance, four 
of the fheep they had brought with them from 
Teneriffe, becaufc fome perfons had imagined that 
they had obferved upon them fymptoms of that 
difeafe which our nation is accufed of having im- 
ported into Europe, from America, The monks 
of the ifland from whence they had brought the 
iheep, had to fuffer many fevere farcafms upon 
this occafion ; though I believe them to have been 
deflitute of foundation ; for I have little doubt^ 
that_if the animals had been fubje(5led to a more 
accurate examination, the crew would not have 
been deprived of fo confi^derable a part of their 
live ilock. 

Breezes from the S. S. E., which began to 
blow on the 21 ft of November, we being in lat. 
4° 31' long. 18^ 30' W. at length put an end to 

F2 the 


the calms, which at this period of the year are 
generally experienced feveral degrees further to 
the fouth, before one arrives at the. track of the 
regular w^inds. 

The bird knovs^n among ornithologifts by the 
name oi pelecanus aquilus excited our admiration. 
We obferved two of them who, whilfl they ho- 
vered at an immenfe height, efpied their prey in 
the water, exped:ing the moment when it fhould 
appear near enough to the furface for them to dart 
down and feize it. 

The reafon why thefe birds hover at fuch a 
prodigious height above the ocean, is, undoubt- 
edly, that they may take in a more extenfive view 
of its furface ; but it is aftonifliing that they are 
able at that diftance to perceive the fmall fifhes 
upon which they generally feed. It is a fubjedt 
w^ell worthy to be inveftigatcd by natural philo- 
fophers, whether this piercing vifion depends 
more upon the fenfibility.of the retina, or (as I 
rather fuppofc it does), upon the difpofition of the 
humours of their eye. 

The pelican is known to be a great deftroyer 
of the flying-iifli. As foon as it eipies one of 
thefc filhcs, it defcend.» from the more elevated 
rciiions of the atmofphere, and remains hovering; 
about fifty toifes above the furface of the water, 
m ord('r to feize its prey whenever it quits the fea. 


Oct.] of la perouse. 85 

All the motions of the pelican are conducted with 
admirable dexterity : it does not dart head fore- 
moft, like moll: other birds that feck their food 
in the water ; but placing its feet and neck hori- 
zontally and level with each other, it flrikes the 
air above it with its pinions, and then laying them 
crofsways upon its back, fo as to afford the Jeaft 
polFible refinance to the atmofphere, darts down 
upon its prey, and feizes it almoft the inftant it 
has left the water. 

We all of us pitied the poor flying-fifh w^hen 
we obferved the aftonifhing fkill of its enemy, 
which very feldom miffcs its aim. As the flying- 
fiih raifes itfelf but to a very fmall diftance from 
the furface of the fea^ the pelican would run the 
rifk of falling into the water, did it not poiTefs 
the art of breaking its fall by fuddenly. expand- 
ing its wings, fo as to be immediately able to 
mount again in queft of another victim. 

Though nature has given the flying-fifli the 
power of living both in the water and in the air, 
it is very difficult for them to efcape from their 
numerous enemies. If they evade the purfuit of 
the bonitos and dorados, by quitting the water, 
the pelican awaits them in the air. Some of 
them, reduced to this dilemma, were obliged to 
light upon our veffel. 

I found in the ilomachs of feveral bonitos a 
F 3 number 


number of worms, that ought to be claffed among 
the genus fafciola of Linnseus, though their in-» 
ferior extremity, which is almoft cyHndrical, has 
a very diftinguifhable bulb. They are about four 
hnes in length, and terminate in a tube which 
compofes about half their dimenfions. 

The winds from the fouth and fouth-eaft con-^ 
tinued to blow with fuch obftinacy, that we were 
not able to crofs the Line till in the night of the 
28th, about eleven o'clock, in 26° E. long, though 
our def]gn had been to crofs it about eight or ten 
degrees farther eaftward. 

Thefe fouth and fouth-eaft winds are not ccm-^ 
mon in thefe latitudes at this time of the year ; 
for the fun being already confiderably advanced 
in the Tropic of Capricorn, the regular winds ge- 
nerally veer round to the eafb. The calms, in 
confequence of which we had got every day t) or 
8'' further northward, and the gales from the fouth 
and fouth-eaft, were the caufcs of our being fo 
long detained by thefe winds. 

Near as we were to the Equator, the thermo- 
meter, as obferved for the laft eight days, had not 
flood higher than 21 or 22°. It was a matter of 
furprife to us, that being fo near the Line, the 
thermometer did not indicate a higher degree of 
heat ; but befides general caufes, fuch as the ab- 
forption of the rays of the fun by the water of 


Nov.] OF LA PEROUSE. 87 

the ocean, and the comparatively inferior denfity 
of the water, together with the evaporation -that 
takes place Irom it, which prevent an equal de- 
gree of heat being communicated to the atmof- 
phcre with what it acquires from the land, wc 
had for feveral days had a flight breeze which 
contributed not a little to cool the air. 

The failors have a cuftom of ducking perfons 
who crofs the Line for the firft time, with the 
fea-watcr. This operation is performed by 
pouring feveral pails of water over their heads ; 
and is frequently conducted in fuch a manner, 
as to afford a great deal of merriment to thofe 
who know themlclves exempted from being the 
fubjedis of it. One of the iailors, who calls him- 
ielf the Good Man of the Line, lets himfclf down 
from the main- top, with a large beard of tow 
faftened to his chin, and preiidcs at this nautical 

Our Commander, apprehenllve that this Ibrt of 
cold bathing might not agree very well with fbme 
of us> forbade its being performed upon any of 
the palfengers. 

On the 2gth of November,. Bcaume's aero- 
meter for falts gave me 3*^ 4-5ths. Wc were 
then half a degree fouth of the Line, 

The currents carried us fomewhat eaftward 
^f our former courfe. The principal caufe of 

F4 the 


the different currents in the wide ocean is known 
to arife from the a6lion of the winds. We had 
jevery reafon to expert a long palfage. The Efpc^- 
lance, however, kept her luff much better thaii 
our veflel. We were apprehenfive left our want 
of water might put us under the necelfity of 
fteering for the coaft of Brazil. This circumflanccJ 
would have been the more embarraffmg to us^, as 
it would have deranged the whole plan of our 
expedition ; for the inveftigations we intended to 
make in feveral of the countries that we were 
about to vifit, were to be determined by the fea- 
fon of the year. 

On the 1 7 th of December we croffed the Tro- 
pic of Capricorn, in 28° W. long. 

On board the Efperance they often caught 
more than a hundred bonitoes in the courfe of 
a day, whilft the mofl dexterous filhermen in our 
veffel never took more than ten in the fame fpace 
of time, and very feldom as many. It was how- 
ever a matter of great confequence to the health 
of the crew, that they fhould be Applied with 
frefh provifions. 

On the 18th of December we were in lat. 25^ 
20^ S. and long. 28° 42^ W. >vhen the thermo-^ 
meter obferved at noon indicated only ] 9° aboye 
0, although the fun was very near our zenith : 
before fun-rife it had been 17§°. In the night- 

p£C.} OF LA PEROUSE, 89 

time the cold had been fo confiderable as to 
pbhge our failors to take to their woollen clothes. 

We had thought ourfelves fure of meeting 
with eafterly gales as we approached the Brazi- 
lian coaft : they, however, blew from the eaft ; 
but having drawn aft, we were enabled to keep 
our fails pretty full for the fpace of a fortnight, 
till we were in 28° S. lat, and 24^^ W. long. 

We might have expeded in this latitude to 
meet with favourable winds for Peering towards 
the Cape of Good Hope ; but all the variation 
that took place was ftili more to our difadvantagc. 

On the 28th of December we had ilill, S. E. 
■winds, though we were already beyond 2Qi^ S, 
lat. The heat of the fun having been for feverai 
months at its greateft height in this hemifphere, 
had changed the direction of the regular winds. 

The length of our paffage had reduced our al- 
lowance of water to one bottle a day. 

As foon as the winds had veered from N. E. to 
N. the currents, which bore till then to the eaft, 
became fcarcely perceptible. 

Though we were at fo great a diftance from 
the Cape of Good Hope, we obierved a great 
number of albatroiTes fdiomedea exulans.J 

It is a remarkable circumftance, that the va- 
riation of the magnetic needle "is much greater 
to the fouth of the Line, than it is to the north ; 



for between 14° N. lat. and the Equator, in the 
fpace cojLitained between 23*^ and 20° W. long, 
the difference had not been more than 3®, or 
from 14° to 11°; whilll in the fame extent of 
fouth latitude, between 26° and So'^ W. long. 
the compais varied eight degrees to the eail, 
or from 11° to 3°. Might not the vicinity of 
the coaft of Brazil be one of the principal caufes 
of this difference ? 

The fmalleft variation obferved was that of 1 ° 
50^, in 25° S. lat. and 29^ W. long. It cannot 
be doubted that the change of fituation with 
refpcd: to longitude has a much greater influence 
upon the variation of the needle, than change of 
latitude. The variation increafed fenfibly in 
proportion as we advanced farther eaflward. 

One of our officers who was taking the dif- 
tanccs between the fun and moon, in a ver^^ in- 
commodious fituation, with a copper -fextant 
made by Dollond, the radius of which was a foot 
in length, difcovered a caufe productive of error in 
the calculations, which one fhould hardly have 
fufped:ed. The radii of this inftrument, though 
very heavy, were ilill fo llender as to bend when 
it was preffed with any degree of force againft 
the breaft, whereby the parallelifm of the fpecula 
v/as deranged. The fame effedl does not take 
place with fextants made of wood, for their radii, 


Dec] of la perouse. gi 

being much ftronger than thoie of copper, do 
not yield to that degree of preHure which bends 
the others. 

This fource of error affords an additional tea- 
fon why mariners ought to give the preference to 
the circle of reflexion, invented by Citizen Borda. 
The facility with which any errors that may arifc 
from the graduation, are redified by crois obfe'rva- 
tionSj in the ufe of this inftrument^ gives it a very 
great fuperiority over all others. 

I regret that this valuable inilrument, though. 
{o eaiy in its application, is not more generally in 
ufe. Each of our ofiicers poiTelTed one of them, 
and during the courfe of the expedition every 
one learnt to ufe it with certainty. 

With a little pra6lice an obferver may take the 
longitude within 10, or 15,000 toifes; and there 
is reafon to believe, that when the lunar tables 
fliall ftave attained a greater degree of perfed;ion, 
the obfervations will approximate ftill nearer to 
the truth. 

Though the plants which I had colle<fled at 
Teneriffe were very dry when we failed from 
that liland, they were becom.e much damaged by 
the moifture which they had imbibed, during tho. 
time that we were between the Tropics, particu- 
larly at the lower part of the leaves, where the 



abibrbent veffels of the plant are known to abound 
more than in any other of its parts. 

The water held in a ftate of folution by the at- 
mofphere, in confequence of the heat which it 
acquires from the perpendicular rays of the fun, is 
fp much greater in quantity than what it can re- 
tain in fituations not exp'ofed to an equal degree 
of heat, that every thing that is not expofed to 
the direA rays of the fun, becomes covered with 
a great degree of moifture ; fo that it is very dif? 
iicuit to preferve inftruments of iron, or even of 
the moft highly poliihed ileel, fron> the ruft. 

During the whole period of time that we were 
failing round the Tropics, the barometer had not 
flood higher than 28 inches 4 lines, nor lower 
than 28 inches 1 1-1 0th lines. 

We knew very well that our provifion of water 
could not retain its frelhnefs in the extreme heat 
of this climate ; but one fhould hardly have ima- 
gnned, that whilfl: we had means on board of re- 
floring its purity, they fhould not have been put 
effecflually in pradice, before diftributing to the 
crew their daily allowance. 

' Water that is kept for a long time on board, 
undergoes the fame fort of decompofition which 
takes place in ftagnant pools ; and this procefs 
is conliderably accelerated by the influence of a 


D£c.] * OF i:a perouse'. ' 93 

hot climate. A great quantity of inflammable 
2(ir is then difengaged from it ; fo that a perfon 
who goes into the hold where it is ftowed, runs 
the hazard of being fuiFocated. This, however, 
is an accident that very rarely happens, as a part 
of the noxious vapours are difcharged by the paf* 
fage leading into the hold. Neverthelefs, thefo 
vapours frequently give rife to nervous fevers 
amongft the crew, the malignity of which, is in 
proportion to the heat by which the decompofi- 
tion of the water is efFc6led. 

As this gas, the fpecific gravity of which was 
firfl: determined by Prieftley, is confiderably lighter 
than atmofpherical air, and has likew^fe very little 
attraction for the water ; it is veiy eafily feparatcd, 
fo as to reftore w^ater to its former purity ; nothing 
more being neceffary than to agitate the fluid for 
the fpace of a quarter of an hour. 

We had a machine on board which was per- 
fectly adapted to this purpofe. It confifted of a 
large bucket, about five cubic feet in capacity, 
which being filled to about two-thirds with wa- 
ter, four large flat pieces of iron were turned 
round in the middle of the vcfTcl, by means of a 
handle and balance-wheel. By this operation the 
water in the bucket was violently agitated, and 
whilft the inflammable air, w-ith which it had 
been impregnated, was difengaged, it abforbed a 
, ,■ quantity 

©4 roTAGE iw ifeARcir [1701* 

quantity of pure air from the atrtiofpherc, to fup- 
ply the place of that which it had loft ; fo that, 
putrid as it had been before^ it foon> 
original frefiinefs. 

This procefs, fo eafy in its execution, affords a. 
fatisfacflory anfwer to the many enquiries that 
have been made concerning the means employed 
by mariners to render water potable, after it hai 
lofl: this quality by being kept long in the fliip. 

It will fcarcely be credited, that though we 
were able to purify the water according to the 
iimple method jufi: defcribed, that which was dif- 
tributed in the veffcl often ftunk nearly as much 
as when it was firfi: brought out of the hold. The 
caufe of this neglc<fh arofe from the circumftancc, 
that the officer, who had the cliarge of infpeding 
the operation, ufually committed it to one of the 
iailors, who, foon tired with turning the handle^ 
delivered it out before it had become potable. It 
was very juftly obferved on board, that it would 
have been much better had this charge been com- 
mitted to the furgeon, as the health of the crew 
depended fo much upon its being well performed^ 
It was neverthelefs left in the hands of the officer 
of the watch. 

On the 29th of December, the fky being very 

clear, the thermometer indicated 17^ 8-lOths, 

and the barometer 3S inches 39-lOths lines; 

r. when 

Dec] ■ OF LA PERousE. 95 

when a breeze iuddenly fpringing up fromN.N.E; 
brought with it a thick fog, which concealed th<^ 
fun from our view for the fpace of a quarter of aa 
hour. It is very remarkable that the mercury in 
the barometer, inftead of falhng in confequcnc© 
of this change of weather, ftood a hne and a hal^ 
higher than before, during the whole time that 
the fog continued. 1 dare not hazard any con- 
jc6lure of my own in order to account for this 
phenomenon, which will appear the more afto- 
nifhing to perfons converfant ^n natural philolb- 
.phy, as this circumftance ought to have dimi- 
niflied the elallicity of the air inilead of augment- 
ing it : bcfides, there was no reafon to believe 
that the fog \^as occalioned by the explofion of 
any volcano. 

On the 3d of January we enjoyed the fpcS:a.clc 
of a lunar rainbow. This planet was cncom- 
pafled, at ten o'clock in the evening, with two 
concentric circles, that prefen ted all the colours 
of the folar rainbow in reverfed order. The 
iargeft of the circles did not occupy more than 
five degrees in the Ikv. 

As this phenomenon, produced by the decom- 
pofition of the rays of the moon, appeared be^ 
tween the planet and us, the prifmatical colours 
naturally prefented tliemfelves in an order the re- 
verfe of what takes place in the folar rainbow ; 


g6 VOtAGE IN SEAiltH [1701. 

becaufe in the latter cafe the fpe^lator is fituated 
between the rainbow and the- fun. Thus the 
fmaller circle was terminated at its interior mar-i 
gin by the red colour, and at its exterior by the 
Yiolet ; whilft the largeft exhibited the red at its 
exterior, and the violet at its interior. 

We were then in lat. 32" 42' S. long. 7° E. 
On the 7th of January we palTed under the 
meridian of Paris, in 3 3° S. lat. 

Having plunged the aerometer of Beaume in 
the fea-water, in order to determine its fpecific 
gravity, it indicated 3^ 4-5ths. I had obtained 
the fame refult from a fimilar experiment which 
I made near the Equator. Hence it appears that 
the faltnefs of the iea does not perceptibly vary in 
different parts of the ocean, though very diftant 
from each other, and heated to very different de- 
grees of temperature by the rays of the fun. 

On the Qth, we began to exercife the crews of 
both ihips in fliooting at a mark. A prize of 
fmall value was the reward of thofe who hit an 
objed: fixed to one of the fore -fail booms. We 
were pleafed to obferve that moft of our men 
took very good aim, though they had never been 
accuftomed to the ufe of lire-arms. It was a 
matter of confequence, in an expedition like ours, 
in the courfe of which we might fometimes be 
under the ncccffity of defending ourfelves againil 


Jan.] of la perousEc 97 

the attempts of the lavages, that every one of 
our company fliould undcrftand the ufe of fuch 
^rms as we had on board. 

The captain of the Efperance having ordered 
an half of a very fine tunny to be tied to a buoy 
and thrown into the water, as a prefent to our 
Commander ; it did not float near enough to our 
vefTel to enable us to take it up, when one of the 
failors plunged into the fea in order to fwim after 
it, although it Was known that a lliark had been 
caught that very morning by the crew^ of the Ef- 
peranccj and the calmnefs of the Weather afforded 
an additional ground of apprehenfion, left one of 
our befl feamcn might fall a prey to another of 
thefe animals. 

Notwithflandins; we had alreadv reached the 
thirty-third degree of fouth lat., being in 5^* F* 
long., the bonitos ftill continued to follow us in 
as numerous ihoals as ever ; though they are fel- 
dom known to abound at fo high a degree of lati- 
tude. The north winds were probably the oc- 
cafion of their leaving their ufual haunts. 

I muft do the crew of our fliips the juftice to 
remark, that if they were Icfs lliilled in filhing 
than the crew of the Elperance, they alfo laboured 
under certain difadvantages which the others did 
not. It was the bufmefs of the boatfwain to 
furnifh the failors with lines, which ours difcri- 

Vql. I. G butcd 



tutcd throughout the whole expedition with fo 
much pariimony, that the failors loft all their in- 
clination for this occupation. The infpecSing 
ofEcer ought to have apprifed him of the perni- 
cious confequenCes refulting from this miftaken 
piece of economy ; but he negle6led to do it. 

The animal known by the name of wedufa ve- 
klla, was induced, by the tranquil ftate of the fca, 
to rife to the furfacc of the water, where we ob- 
ferved large numbers of this fpecies. They were 
precifely fimilar to thofe which I have often met 
with in the Mediterranean, where the failors con- 
fider them very delicious eating. 

The fuccefs of oar expedition depended \cry 
much upon the fhips being fuch as did not water ; 
we had, however, fcarcely left the roads of Breft, 
when we were obliged to pump the vcHels. As 
our fhlp made three-fourths of an inch water 
every hour, we were under the neceffity of pump- 
ing it twice every day. This precaution was the 
more indifpenfable, as the water had already at- 
tacked our fait provifions, the prefervaticn of 
which w^as an objed: of the greateft importance 
on a voyage like ours. Very fortunately, that 
■which got into the hold did not penetrate far. 

The fpace between decks was fo much lum- 
bered, that it lafted feveral months before we 
could find out the fpot where it leaked, which at 
" • lafi: 

Jan.] of la perouse. 99 

laft was difcovered to be behind one of the knees. 
Upon lightening the vefTel, we found that one of 
the tree-nails had been forgotten, and the place 
where it ought to have been inferted fmeafed 
over with tar. Having bolted it properly, 'vft 
were enabled to keep the fliip dry. 

The albatroiles of the Cape of Good Hope, 
which began to appear in large flocks, fhewed uS 
that we were approaching to the fouthern extre- 
mity of Africa. We defcried the land about eight 
o'clock in the morning of the lOth of January. 
Table Bay was then about 20,000 toifes diftant 
from us. 

The currents, which had made us fall off fb 
much from our courfe whilil w^e were in the track 
of the regular winds, having fortunately taken 
an oppofite dire61;ion where we met w4th the va- 
riable ones ; what we had loft to the weft was 
very nearly made up to us by what we gained to 
the eaft, as appeared when we made the land of 
the Cape of Good Hope. It is evident that the 
tendency of the feas to preferve the level, fome 
few irregularities proceeding from the variable 
winds excepted, ought to induce mariners, in the 
parts where thefe winds prevail, to bear down to 
the eaft in proportion as the general winds deter- 
mine the currents to the weft. 
• We had another indication of our being near 
; ; G 2 the 


the land in the difference of colour of the water^ 
arifing from the Ihallownefs of its bottom. 

Some feals, of the fpecies called by Linnaeus 
phoca puJiUa, approached very near to our veifel 
in queft of their food amongft the large mafTes of 
fucus piriformis, which floated upon the water. 
Thefe animals often efcapcd from our failors by 
taking feveral fucccffive leaps over the water. 
This they perform by placing their hinder paws 
together, fo as to refemble the broad tail of a fifh, 
and acl with coniiderable refinance againft the 
furface of the water, over which they bound like 
a nimble quadruped over a level plain. 

We fell a little to leeward of the mouth of 
Table Bay, which gave us hopes of coming to 
anchor in the courfe of the day. It was not, ho'^v- 
cver, the moft favourable weather for making the 
land ; for the day was very rainy, and the coafl 
often concealed by a thick fog from our view. 

About feven in the evening we w^ere between 7 
and 8,000 toifes from the mountain of Hout Bay, 
which bore E. 3° 45^ N. The foreland of the 
Cape bore N. N. E. The Lion's-head E. 3^ N. 
Our foundings gave us here the depth of water at 
fcventy toifes over a bottom of coral. 

The fca appeared very phofph ore fcent through* 
out the whole night which we fpent off the coaft. 
A great number of luminous fpecks were obferv- 


Jan.] of la perouse. loi 

able wherever the water was agitated. This phof- 
phorefcence differed in no other refpccft from that 
ufually obferved at fea, than in its greater inten- 
fity, proceeding from the fuperabundance of phof- 
phoric globules. Such phofphoric fubftances 
abound much more in the vicinity of the land, 
than in the open fea at the fame latitude ; as I 
have remarked upon a former occailon. 

A flight S. E. breeze enabled us in the after- 
noon of the following day to dired: our courfe to- 
wards the mouth of Table Bay. As foon as it 
blew a little freflier, w^e fteered with full fails 
towards the Pohtte des Pendiis, ranging very near 
to the coaft, our depth according to the foundings 
being pretty uniformly about five toifes. 

About half an hour after five we caft anchor 
in a bottom of muddy grey fand, at the depth of 
about twenty-four feet, and diflant 5,130 toifes 
from the Ihore. The principal fleeple in the town 
bore E. 38^^ S. The flag upon the Croupe de 
Lion E. 3^ N. The flag at the northcrnmoft 
fide of the fort E. 48° N. The Iflund Kobbcn 
N. 1° W. 

We had not a fingle fick man on board, al- 
though the length of our paiTage had reduced us 
to a very fcanty daily allowance of water ; but 
we had endeavoured to compenfate for the want 
qf At by a copious ufe of various antifcorbutic re- 

G 3 medies> 


medics. A very -wholefome and pleafant kind of 
punch, made of brandy, vinegar, fugar and water, 
had been daily diftributed amongft our crew to- 
wards the latter end of the paiTage. The (hips 
were fumigated every day, and we were very care- 
ful that the failors fhould change their clothes 
whenever they had got wet. It was a fatisfadion 
to us to £nd that thefe precautions had not been 
taken in vain. 


Ah ode at the Cape of Good Hope — Depojitmis of 
two French Captains, fhezving that they had been 
informed at Batav'm by Commodore Hunter of 
his having feen fome Perfons at the Admiralty 
JJlandsy dreffed in the XJnforms of the French 
Marine — Captain BUgh's Voyage from England 
in Quefi of the Bread-fruit 171 the Society 
Iflands — Violent Gales from the South Fqfi — 
Local Caufe of their Violence — Slave-trade — - 
Fxcurflons amoiigfi the Mountains in the Vicinity 
of the Town — Journey of the Fifcal — Voyage to 
Franfche Hoek. 

TWO officers of health came on board from 
the Cape Town, in order to learn whether 
any of our crew wxre infeded with contagious 


Jan.] of la perouse, 103 

■diforders. The fmall-pox is the difeafe moft 
dreaded by the inhabitants ; for not being en- 
demic, it occafions liere, as well as in every part 
of India, the moft dreadful ravages, whenever it 
is imported amongft them from foreign countries. 

The mafter of a merchant velTel from Bour- 
deaux, which had arrived here a few days be- 
fore us, immediately came to acquaint us that 
the Commander of the naval forces at Ifle de 
France, having received fome information rela- 
tive to the fate of La Peroufe, had difpatched a 
frigate to the Cape, in order to communicate 
his intelligence to the Commander of the expe- 
dition fent in fearch of that unfortunate naviga- 
tor. The frigate had failed from Me de France 
a few days before our arrival. 

Our Commander Dcntrecalleaux difpatched an 
officer to the Governor of the Cape to arrange 
the ceremonial of the falute. This officer re- 
ceived from the Charge d' Affaires of France the 
difpatches which Citizen Saint-Felix, Com- 
Inander of our naval forces in the Indian feas, had 
fent to Dentrecafteaux by the frigate Atalante, 
Captain Bolle, which had immediately failed back 
for Pile de France. 

I fhall here infert the letter addrefTed to our 
Commander, with the depofitions of two mafters 
of merchant vefTels, who w^ere at Batavia during 

G 4 the 

104 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792, 

the ftay which Commodore Hunter made at that 
place, upon his return from Botany Bay in a 
Dutch vefTel, after he had been Ihipwrecked off 
Norfolk ifland. 

Letter from Citizen Saint-Felix, Commander of tlie 
■ Naval Forces of Fra?ice in the Indian Seas, to 
General Uentrecafteaux. 

" I learn from private correfporidence that you 
do not purpofe to touch at lile de France till ou 
your return frOm the important expedition in 
vvhich you are engaged. Difappointed in the 
hope, with vvhich I had flattered myfelf, of hav- 
ing the honour to converfe with youj I haften to 
difpatch, in order that they may find you at the 
Cape of Good Hope, two reports relative to the 
obje(5]: of your million, which I have lately re- 
ceived from the maflersof two French vefTels ar- 
rived here from Batavia. You will thereby be 
informed of the particulars, how a Dutch vefTel, 
having on board Commodore Hunter of the Sirius 
Englifli frigate, together with hisfhip's company, 
difcovered near the Admiralty Iflands, in the 
South Sea, fcveral perfons clothed in European 
manufa(Siures, fome of which, in particular, ap- 
peared to be French uniformis. You. will alfo be 
infojmed that the Commodore did not doubt that 


Jan.] of la perouse. io^ 

thefe were remains of the fliip wreck fuffered by 
M. de la Peroufe, whom he had often feen at 
Botaiiy Bay, 

" I conceived that the communication of 
thefe reports mufb intereft you ; and they ap- 
peared to me of fo important a nature, that I re^ 
Iblved to tranfmit them dire6lly to you by a fri- 
gate, which I 'have difpatched to the Cape for 
that exprefs purpofe. Captain Bolle, who com- 
mands the veffel, will leave the papers in the 
hands of our Charge d' Affaires, in cafe he fhould 
not meet you there ; in order that they may be 
delivered to you immediately upon your arrival. 
Though 1 have received no official directions re-? 
lative to your expedition, that authorize me tQ 
fend this frigate upon its prefent deftination, yet 
I have no doubt that the ftcp I have taken will 
meet with the approbation of his Majefty, both 
when I confider the intereft of the pubhc and the 
fentiments of my own heart. It was referved 
for you to acquire a claim upon tlie gratitude of 
the w hole French nation, by accepting the com- 
mand of an expedition which confers equal ho- 
nour upon the Sovereign who has ordered it, and 
the Commander to whom its execution is in- 
truftcd. In every part of the globe that you may 
yiiit, yqu fliall ever be attended by my fervent 



wilhes for your fuccefs, and" the inviolable and 
perfect: attachment with which I am, &c. 

(Signed) Saint-Felix." 

Me dc France, 'Jth Nov. 1791. 

Report delivered to Saint-Felix, Comma?ider of the 
Naval Forces of the French Nation in the Indian 

, Seas, by Captain Preaudet, Mafter of the Jafon, 
from Batavia. 

The Sirius Englifli frigate, commanded by 
Commodore Hunter, and bound for New Hol- 
land, was call away off Norfolk Ifland in the 
South Sea^ towards the end of the year 1790. 
The fhip's company were taken on board a floop 
that accompanied the frigate, and carried to Bo- 
tany Bay, where Commodore Philips engaged a 
fmall Dutch veffel to convey the ihip wrecked 
crew, together with their comirtiander, to Eng- 

Having failed from Botany Bay in this vcllel, 
with an intent to touch at Batavia, they were 
carried by contrary winds and the force of the cur- 
rents as far eaftward as 1 0;° E. long, meridian of 
Greenwich. Wifhing to pafs through the Straits 
of St. George, they came within light of the 
Admiralty lilands, fituated in 14;° E. long. 3° 
25^ S. lat. Near to the moft eallerly of thefe 


JaJ^.] of la perouse. 107 

iflands they obferved feveral boats, amongfl the 
crews of which there were many pcrfdns who 
wore European ftufis and pieces of cloth in their 
drefs ; they even diftinguiilied fome who were 
clothed in the uniform of the French Marine. 
Thefe people hung out the white flag as a fignal 
for the Englifli to approach ; but though Com- 
modore Hunter was very deiirous of doing it, he 
found it impradicable, on account of the contrary- 
currents and winds, and the danger to which the 
numerous flioals would have expofed them. 
• Commodore Hunter had often feen M. de la 
Peroufe at Botany Bay, and lived upon terms of 
intimacy with him. He had learnt from him 
that his intention was to pafs through the Straits 
of St. George, after leaving Botany Bay, and 
from thence to direct his courfe to the north- 
ward. He does not doubt that the Aftrolabe 
and Bouflble were caft away upon the above- 
mentioned iflands, in confequence of the calms 
and ftrong currents that prevail in thofe parts. 
He has informed me that he has been carried by 
them fix hundred miles to the eaftward in the 
fpace of ten days ; as he knew from repeated ob- 
fervations or the longitude, from the time-keepers, 
and from the bearings of the land. In a word 
Commodore Hunter, whom I faw at Batavia in 
the courfe of my lafl voyage, appeared to me to 


108 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92- 

!>e fully purfuaded that the European drelTes, 
which he faw in the boats from the Admiralty 
lilands^ were colledled from the wrecks of the 
veiTels formerly under the command of La Pe- 

Commodore Hunter is at prefent upon his re-* 
turn home to England, from whence he will 
probably tranfmit a more circumflantial account 
of this affair to France. 

From his own experience in approaching the 
Admiralty Iflands, the Englifh Commander thinks 
that any veffel intending to fail thither ought to 
endeavour to get early into its latitude, in order 
to avoid being carried away by the currents 
which fet to the eaft with prodigious ftrength. 

(Signed) Preaudet, Mailer of the Jafon. 

Ifle de Fiance, 6th Nov. 1791, ' 

Report delivered by Pierre Magon LSplnayj Mqfler 
of the Maria HeJe?ia, from Batavla, to Saint- 
Felix, Comynander of the Naval Forces of France 
in the Indian Seas. 

The commander and officers of the Sirius 
Englifh frigate, after being fhipwrecked off Nor- 
folk llland, were carried to Botany Bay, from 
whence tliey failed in a fmall Dutch veffel for 
Batavia, where they arrived towards the latter- 

Jan.] of la PEHousfi. ' io§ 

end of September, in the prcfent year, after a 
paffage of about iix months. 

A day or two after they had weathered the 
Straits of St. George, they found themfeh-es as 
foon as it dawned within fight of two of the Ad- 
miralty Illands, which were very near them ; 
they immediately founded, but could not reach 
the bottom. 

They afterwards obferved two canoes that con-^ 
tained about twelve men each, rowincf from the 
iflands towards them ; but though they would 
not come on boa^d the velTel, they however ap- 
proached very near to it. There was then very 
little wind biovv'ing. The veflel was expofed to 
a current which drove it off from the land : at ' 
any rate, the Dutch captain had no inclination 
to approach nearer to the fhore. It was obfcrved 
that two of the men in the canoes had fword-belts 
Umilar to thofe worn by European officers; they 
made -figns as if they w^ilhed to have their beards 
lihaved, and many of them had pieces of red and 
blue cloth about their drefs, which proved that 
they had had fome communication with Euro- 
peans. As Captain Hunter, Commander of the 
Sirius, had been informed at Botany Bay by La 
Peroufe himfelf, that his intention was to pafs the 
Straits of St. George ; all the officers of that 
frigate were of opinion that they had thus un- 


41© VOYAGE tN SEARCH [l 79^* 

cxpe(^edly dilcovered the iflands upon which he 
was caft away. 

I, the underwritten, certify that the above nar- 
rative is conformable to what I have colled:ed 
from different converfations w^th the officers of 
the Sirius, w^ho had arrived at Batavia after the 
ihipwreck of that frigate, in a fmall Dutch vefTel, 
with which J was in company during the month 
of 0<Sober. 

(Signed) Magon Lepinay. 

Ifle de France, 3 ill Oa. 179 K 

As Commodore Hunter was at the Cape of 
Good Hope, on his return from Batavia to Eng- 
land, at the moment when we arrived there ; wc? 
had reafon to exped; that we fliould receive from 
him every poffible information concerning what 
he had fecn at the Admiralty Iflands; but were 
fiirprized to hear that he had failed from the 
Cape two hours after we had cafl: anchor. He 
was probably well acquainted with the objed: of 
our expedition ; for we were expecfled at the 
Cape, and our Commander's flag mufi: have con* 
vinced him that thefe- were the ihips ient in fearch 
of La Peroufe. It appeared very aflonifliing to 
us, that he had not attempted to convey to us 
even the fcanty information which Preaudet and 
Magon Lepinay had coll edcd from himfelf and 


Jan.] of la perouse. ill 

his officers at Batavia. Our amazement was ftill 
greater, when we underftood that Commodore 
Hunter had not only not fufFered any thing to 
tranfpire during his ftay at the Cape, which could 
give ground to believe that he had feen favages 
dreffed in the uniforms of the French marines, 
but that. he had even exprefsly declared to fevered 
of the members of the regency, and in particular 
to his friend Mr. Gordon, that he knew nothing 
of the fads reported upon the arrival of the Ata- 
lante : neither was there any reafbn to fufped: 
that the reports left at the Cape, by Captain 
Bolle, came from Commodore Hunter himfelf. 

Captain Bligh, Commander of the Engliih floop 
Providence, which had been fitted out for the 
purpofe of fearching for the bread-fruit tree in 
the Society lilands, had cafe anchor in Table-bay 
fhortly after the Atalante had failed from thencCo 
It appeared that Captain Bligh had heard no- 
thing from Commodore Hunter relative to the 
depofitions of the two French captains; but, 
that upon the informat;ion communicated to him 
by perfons who had fpoken with the captain of 
the Atalante, he had affured Colonel Gordon, that 
when he returned to the Society Iflands, he would 
make wnat enquiries he was able in thofe parts 
where LaPeroufe was reported to have been caft 


112 VOYAGE IN SEARfcH [l/'^^i 

away, and endeavour to fave fome of the te- 
mains of that unfortunate expedition. 

This was the fecond expedition which Captain 
Bhgh had undertaken in queft of the bread-fruit 
tree. In the courfe of the hrft voyage which he 
made tor the purpofe of procuring this valuable 
tree to the Weft Indian fettlements of the Eng~ 
lifh, he had been fet on fhore in confequence of a 
mutiny amongft the crew, of v>hich he publiihed 
an account after his return to Ensiland. 

We learnt that the Pandora Englifli frigate, 
commanded by Captain Edwards, had fmce been 
at the Society Illaiids, where they had feized 
fourteen of the mutineers. Four of them after- 
\va;:ds made their efcapc when the veiTel was ruii 
aground off Norfolk liland. The ringleader of 
the mutineers, ChriftiaUj who had been mafter 
of the veiTcl under tlie command of Captain 
Bligh, had efcaped with ninC others to another 
•ifland, and carried fcveral of the natives with 
him. One of the officers of the Pandora lately 
arrived at the Cape, allured us that Bligh had be- 
haved very ill to Chriilian, and that an abufe of 
authority on the fide of the captain was the caufe 
ot all his lubfequcnt misfortunes. Chriftian, 
though mafter of the vcird, had been maltreated, 
accordnig to Captain Bligh's orders, as if he had 


Jan.] of la perouse. 113 

been a common failor of the lowefl rank. If 
this be the fad:, Captain Bligh difguifes the truth 
when he aflerts, that he had always treated him 
with the greateft hberality. 

There were at that time eighteen fhips lying 
at anchor at the Cape, of which twelve were 
Dutch, two French, two American, and two 

At fiin-riie we faluted the place with thirteen 
guns, which it returned with the fame number. 

18th. At nine o'.clock the Commander of our 
expedition went on fliore ; upon which the town 
faluted him with fifteen guns, v/hich we returned 
gun for gun. The Governor had fent feveral 
carriages, and a large company of muficians to 
attend General Dentrecafteaux at the place where 
he • landed. Accompanied by the muficians, 
playing upon their infi:ruments in a very boifhe- 
rous manner, he went with fome of his officers to 
wait upon the members of the regency^ who re- 
ceived him in a full afiTembly of the council, and 
foon after returned his vifit, at the houfe of the 
Charge d' Affaires of France, where he lodged. 

The greater part of our officers took lodgings 
in different houfes of the town. The Dutch in- 
habitants at the Cape are know^n to be very fond 
of lodging ftrangers at their houfes. Their com- 
mon price is a piaftre a day. I took a lodging, 

Vol. i, H toffcther 

114 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

together with fome of my travelling companions, 
at the houfe of a M. de Lettre. 

igth. The fummit of the Table Mountain 
was hid in thick clouds, which at this feafon of 
the year is a certain prognoflic of high vnnds from 
the fouth-eaft, that generally continue for two or 
three days. The gales were this time fo violent, 
that during the whole time they prevailed no vef- 
fel of the fize of a Hoop dare venture to approach 
the ihore. 

Though the clouds appeared immovably at- 
tached to the top of the mountain, even when 
the winds blew with their greateft violence, they 
were, in fa^l, perpetually replaced by others ; but 
the force with which they were driven along, 
after their feparation from the mountain, dimi- 
nifhing their cohefion, they were foon diffipated 
in the atmofphere. We often obferved large 
maffes of thefe clouds, which as foon as they were 
detached from the fum^mit, immediately difap- 

Thefe violent gales from the fouth-eaft, which 
have often been noticed by travellers, appeared to 
me to proceed from the nature of the coaft, which 
forms a very high ridge from the Cape Town 
as far as to the mouth of Falfe Bay, and ads as a 
barrier, preventing the fouth-eaft winds from 
paffmg beyond it. Whenever thefe winds get 


Jan.] ' OF LA PEROUSE. 115 

into Falfe Bay, it can only happen in confequcnce 
of their having furmounted this obftacle which 
oppofes them at thefouthern extremity of Africa. 
The- dilatation of the lower column of air is fo 
much impeded by the comprefTion which it fuf- 
fers, in its afcent towards the fummit of this ridge, 
from the weight of the fuperincumbent column, 
'that, whenever it has paffed thefe heights, the re- 
action of its elafticity is proportionate to the di- 
minution of the refiftance before oppofed to its 
expanfion. Its impetuofity is then fuch as fre- 
quently to loofen fhips lying in the road from 
their anchors, and fet them adrift. 

The violence of thefe winds is the greateft 
where they defcend along the declivity of thefe 
mountains : in the interior of the country fituated 
at a fmall diftance to the eaftward, on the con- 
trary, they are very moderate ; as I have had oc- 
cafion to remark in feveral excurfions which I 
made from the town. 

The clouds, with which the fummit of the ' 
ridge is at fuch times covered, are naturally pro- 
duced from the enormous mafs of air, which, 
after becoming furcharged with moifture during 
its palTage over a vaft extent of ocean, when it 
afcends into the higher regions of the atmofphere, 
depofits, in the form of clouds, the fuperabun- 
dant water which, on account of the change of > 

H 2 temperature, 

11$ VOYAGE IN SEARCH [17^2. 

temperature, it can no longer retain in a ftate of 

In the courfe of the night, the long boat of the 
Efperance was torn by the gale from her Hern, 
and loft. To fnpply its place, a fort of light vef- 
icl ufed in the whale-fiihery, was purchafed of an 
American ihip. 

20th. Though the fouth-eaft wind continued 
to blow with great violence, I made an excuriion 
in the neighbourhood of the town, where I found, 
in great abundance, two fpecies of the chiro7iw, 
termed C. innervta and C. de?idroides. The gor^ 
teria cUians like wife grew at the foot of the moun- 
tains. The beautiful fhrub, known by the name 
o{ brunea palacea, adorned the rifmg grounds. No 
infe6ls, of courfe, could be feen whilft the winds 
blew with fuch violence. 

I took a view of the Company's garden, of 
■which many travellers fpeak in terms of enthufi- 
aftic admiration. ■ It is, neverthelefs, nothing more 
than an immenfe inclofnre, which contains fome 
very fine oaks. Several fquare plots of ground 
' hedged round with myrtles, are planted with 
kitchen- vegetables ; but very few curious plants 
are to be feen there. They alfo contain feveral 
of the orchard-trees of Europe. I obferved fome 
bananas, the leaves of which had been torn into 
ilender ftrips by the wind. 


Jan.] of la perouse. 117 

The faJco ferpentarhis of Linnaeus I fxw very 
tame In a houfe belonging to the Governor. 

The menagcry fituatcd, at the extremity of thij 
2;arden, contained but a very fmall number of un- 
common animals, the chief of which were thq 
oflrich, the zebra, the porcupine, the jackall, and 
feveral birds ; amongft others, the bald-headed 
curlieu of Buffon, (tentahis calvtis, Linn.) 

The gales were lefs violent in the evening, and 
gave us hopes of fine weather. 

A veflel employed in the (lave-trade lay at an- 
chor in the road. It had lately arrived from Mo- 
zambique, and its cargo of four hundred negroes 
were, for the prelent, on fhore. It was a moft 
naelancholy fpe<flacle, to behold thefe miferable 
wretches, the greater part of whom wxre already 
affli(fled with the fcurvy, after a very fhort paf- 
fage, crowded into three narrow rooms, from 
whence they were fliortly to be carried on board, 
doomed to wafle their lives in fupporting the 
luxur}^ of fome w ealthy American. The fliip had 
been trading with countries where dogs are in 
great requeft ; and thefe dealers in human lives 
did not fcruple to avow that they often pnrchafed 
two or three blacks for one handfome dos;. 

On the 2 2d, I fpent the day in examining the 
Lion's Mountain. The foil of this mountain, 
which derives its name from the appearance which 

H 3 it 


it prefcnts when feen at a diilance by fea, is very- 
unfavourable to vegetation. It is almoft every 
where covered, even as far as the fea-fide, with 
hard fteatites of a greyifli colour, and fo barren 
that I carried home with me but very few fpeci- 
mens of plants. On the following day I vifited 
the Devil's Mountain. It well deferves its ap- 
pellation, on account of the violence of the fouth- 
eaft winds, which is much greater at the decli- 
vity of this rnountain, than in any other part of 
the country. The delightful vale, which feparates 
this mountain from the Lion's Mountain, is 
adorned with the beautiful fpecies of the protea, 
named by Linn, protea argentea, the tufted tops 
of which refifl: the violent blafts of wind from 
the furrounding mountains. The leaves of this 
tree are covered with a fort of down, VN^hich grows 
the thickeft on the parts moft expofed to the 
wind. This circumilance may here be remarked 
in ,moft of the plants liable to be beaten by the 
winds, which renders it probable, that their down 
■ ferves them as a defence from the injury they 
might otherwife receive from them. 
. The fertility of this valley afforded a remark- 
able contraft with the barrennefs of the Lion's 
Mountain. The vegetable kingdom appeared here 
in its highcft luxuriance. Where the grounds 
rofe with an eafy afceat, they were befpanglcd 


Jan.] of la perouse. iig 

with the tuHp of the Cape of Good Hope fhce- 
mayithus cocctnea, Linn.) ; a variety of different 
kinds of fhrubs projedied from the cleft between 
the rocks, and at their bafes grew the beautiful 
Jioshe gfiaphaloides, amongftan abundance of other 

24th. As the preparation of the plants, which 
I had coUedled on the preceding day, occupied a 
great portion of my time, 1 had not leifure to un- 
dertake any long excurfion ; I therefore confined 
n:iyfelf to fliort walks in the neighbourhood of the 

The falfe aloe, termed' by botanifls agave vl- 
v'lpara, was then in full flower. I admired the 
lightnefs with which the black titmoufe (parus 
ater, Linn.) hovered about this plant, whilft it fed 
upon the faccharine liquor which exudes from 
the bafes of its corolla. It was with regret that I 
killed fome of thefe beautiful little birds, in order 
to carry off their fpoils. 

Three of us, who were walking together, fol- 
lowed a narrow path till within a fmall diftance 
of the country-houfe of the Fifcal : his name was 
Denefs. This man, habituated to defpotic au- 
thority over his inf<friors, wanted to hinder us 
from walking over fome uncultivated grounds, 
which, as he told us with great emphafis, were his 
property. Wc were not a little affonifhed at 

H 4 this 

120 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792, 

this prohibition, uttered in fo did:atorial a tone ; 
for the Fifcal feemed fully perfuaded that we 
durft not be fo rafh as to proceed any farther. 
We, however, after having reprefented to him 
that we could not poffibly do any harm to his 
uncultivated flony grounds, purfued our route. 
The petty Vizier fell into a violent rage at fee- 
ing how little we minded his orders, and not be- 
ing able to anfwer our remonftrances, he told us 
in very bad French, that fuch were his com-- 
mands, and it required no further explanation. 

Two negroes, who had accompanied us from 
the town, trembled at the found of the Fifcal's 
voice, and it was with difficulty that we could 
perfuade them to remain with us : for they told 
us, whilft they fhuddered with horror, that this 
Monfieur Denefs was the perfon Who prefided at 
the whippings that were adminiftered accordins; 
to the orders of the officers of police. 

It is a remarkable circumftance that the Fifcal 
is here invefted with the charge of infpedllon over 
all the fervants of the Company, and holds his 
office independently of any other perfon.. It feems 
ftill more ftrange that fo important a truft fliould 
be committed to the hands of an officer of po- 
lice, who is thus enabled to pra6i:lfe all the ex- 
tortions for which his office affi^rds him fuch 
^mple opportunities ; for he it is who both fixes 


Jan.] of la perouse. 121 

the amount of fines, and colle(5ls their produce. 
In confequence of this regulation, pecuniary pu- 
nifliments are the only ones inflided upon thofe 
who are able to pay : the reft he always orders to 
be whipped. 

25th. I employed this day in taking a view 
of the Table Mountain, which derives its appel- 
lation from the horizontal plain which its fummit 
prefents when feen at a diftance. 

I had frequently to crofs a brook that flows 
down this mountain. The large ftones, rounded 
by fridion, that are found on its fhore, Ihew that 
in the rainy feafon the water defcends in torrents. 

About half way up the mountain I found the 
thejium Jlridiiim, A little higher up I met with 
the magnificent umbelliferous plant, called by 
botanifts hernias depatiperata, the beautiful feriL, 
acroftichum peSi'inatum ; the huhon galhanum, the 
rejliojimplex, &c. 

That portion of the mountain which I had 
hitherto afcended, was compofed of greyifh free- 
ftone, very hard, and covered with maffes of a 
fine white-coloured quartz, which fcrvcd as a bafis 
to feveral very clofe ftrata of micaceous fchiftus. 

Having afcended upwards of 350 toifes perpen- 
dicular height, I arrived at a fiffure in the fide of 
the mountain, which, when {{i<t\\ from the town, 
4oes not appear to afford a paflage to the fum- 


mit ; but I found the diftant view had deceived 
me, for I difcovered a path in it oi no very diffi- 
cult accefs to perfons ufed to chmbing mountains, 
being the track moftly frequented in order to ar^ 
rive at the top, which is hardly to be furmounted 
by any other. 

Though the part of the mountain where wc 
now ftood is about 500 toifes perpendicular 
height, the heat of the atmofphere raifed the ther- 
mometer to twenty degrees in the ihade. 

Fuel is very fcarce at the Cape of Good Hope ; 
but though the mildnefs of the climate exempts 
the inhabitants from the neceffity of employing 
artificial heat as a defence againft the feverity ot 
the weather, they want it, however, for the pur- 
pofes of cookery, and fend their ilaves even far be- 
yond the Table Mountain, to fetch the fmall fup- 
ply of wood which they require. We met feve- 
ral blacks carrying to the town their bundles ot 
fuel, which confiftcd of the branches of different 
forts of fhrubs : amongfl others I diflinguilhcd 
cunoyiia cape7t/ts, and feveral beautiful fpecies of 
the protea. I w^as much gratified at having an 
opportunity to fee thefe fine plants, and regretted 
only that they had been gathered for no other pur- 
pofe than to fervc as fuel. I picked out fome 
Specimens for myfelf, and the blacks, whofe bur- 
thens were not become much lighter for what 1 


Jan.] of la perouse. 123 

had taken away, proceeded on their journey to 
the town. It gave us pain to obferve that thefe 
miferable beings were obhged to march forward, 
without ever halting ; though the fteep defcent 
of the mountain mufc have been extremely fa- 

The mountains in the neighbourhood of the 
town ferve as a place of refuge for flaves, whom 
the barbarous treatment they endure compels to 
attempt their efcape. Driven by hunger they 
then frequently approach, under cover of the 
night, to habitations, in order to procure by theft 
their fcanty means of fubiiftence. That they 
prefer fuch a miferable ftate of exiftence to re- 
maining with their mafters, proves how inhuman 
the treatment muffc be to which they are expolcd. 
It niuft be very dangerous to truft one's felf, alone 
and unarmed, amongft the clefts of the rocks, 
where thefe wretches, driven by defpair, fliut 
themfelves from the fight of the fun, in order ta 
efcape from flavery. 

. Some drops of water, that ooze at this height 
from fiflures between the beds of micaceous fchif- 
tus, afford the traveller means of quenching his 

The high borders of the cleft, through which 
we were afcending, were ornamented with vari- 
ous beautiful fpecies of lilacs : we obferved parti- 

124 VOYAGE IN SFARCH [l792« 

cularly the afitholiza ethtopica, remarkable for the 
brilliant appearance of its fcarlet bloiToms. 

Having arrived at the fummit of the mountain^ 
we were beginning to regale ourfelves upon the 
provifions which we had brought with us, when 
we obferved fome of the company of the Efpe^ 
ranee coming towards us, who had undertaken 
the fame tour without providing themfelves with 
any refrefhments for their journey ; and we were 
heartily willing to let them fhare in our frugal 

The rain difcharged by the clouds which had 
been detained over the fummit of the Table 
Mountain during feveral of the preceding days, 
had formed pools in the clefts of the rock, be- 
tween which I found a great variety of curious 

The fummit of the mountain prefents a view 
of Falfe Bay in its whole extent, and I carefully 
followed it with my eye in all its windings. We 
defcended by the fame track that we had afcended. 
It was already dark when I arrived in the town^, 
loaded with an abundant collc(5lion of plants. 

20th. As foon as I had made the preparations 
requifitc for prefcrving the fpecimens which I 
had colieded, I directed my obfervations to the 
eaiVern part of the country. 


Jan.] of la perouse. 125 

Beyond the farther end of the bay there is a 
vaft plain of fand, on which one is furprifed to 
fee a prodigious number of plants vegetating. 
The moft frequent are various fpccics of the 
diofma, polygala, and horhonia. Thefe plants, 
however, would not be able to fupport themlelves 
in fo barren a foil, if they did not ilioot their 
roots to a great depth into the ground, fo as there 
to imbibe the moifture neceflary for their vegeta- 

I had to crofs feveral brooks, which take their 
rife from the neighbouring mountains, and fomc 
of which are loft in the fands before they dif- 
charge themfelves into the fea. In thefe moift 
fituations I found the beautiful llirub, genthyllis 

The fifTures in the fand ferve as places of fhel- 
ter for the fnakes, which one frequently finds 
Sleeping upon their borders ; but as foon as one 
approaches them they immediately fly to their 
lurking-places for refuge. 

27th. 1 refolved to make a fecond vifit to the 
Table Mountain. I w^ent a little off from the 
common path, and enriched my collection with 
feveral plants which 1 had not fecn before. In- 
deed it required a confiderable length of time to 
exhauli all the botanical ftores of a country which 
produces fiich an abundance of vegetables. 

A 'thick 


A thick fog fuddenly fpread itielf over the part 
of the mountain where I Itood, and obhged me 
immediately to defcend. I fhould cert^inlyjiave 
loft my way, had I not happened to be quite near 
to the path that leads to the toot of the rnoun^ 
tain. Although there blew but little -vsind at 
that time upon the Table Mountain, the clouds, 
after paffing over its fummit, precipitated them- 
felves in the form of mifts, in the iarixe manner 
as when they are impelled by the fouth-eaft gales. 

28th. I enriched my collection with a num- 
ber of plants which I gathered in the vicinity of 
• the town. 

I had hitherto obferved but very few infecfls, 
as they do not generally frequent places fo much 
expofed to currents of the air. 

On the 29th, 1 made an excurfion on the op- 
pofitc fide of the Table Mountain, follovv^ing the 
courfe of the valley which divides it from the 
Lion's Mountain. 

The cyanelJa capenjis ^rQ,w quite clofe to the edge 
of the fea. 

Having reached the heights, I had the pleafiu-e 
to fee the fides of the rocks ornamented with 
diiferent fpecies of flirubs, amongft which the 
erica Jialkacaha particularly diftingaiilied itfelf, 
by the oval form, and beautiful tints of its 

' The 

Jan.] of la peroijse. 12; 

The difa grmidiflora, one of the moft beautiful 
plants of the clafs of orchis, grew upon the fide 
of the fmall ftreams that wind themfclves among 
thcfe mountains. 

This excurfion proved the more gratifying to 
me, as I made it in the company of M. MalTon, 
who had acquired a very extenfive acquaintance 
with botany, in the courfe of his travels. 

The following days were employed by me in 
making new refearches in the places I had already 
vifited. Vegetation is here fo varied, that I con- 
tinually met with new objeds of attention. 

An Englifii frigate, from Tellicherry, had been 
lying for five days at anchor at the Cape, on its 
return to England to give an account of an en- 
gagement that had taken place between the 
French frigate La Rcfolue, of twelve guns, Cap- 
tain Calaman, and the Englifh frigate Pbenix, 
of eighteen. The Englifii frigate had attempted 
to make prizes of fome veflels under the convoy 
of La Rcfolue. 

The Englifh, according to their ufual cuflom, 
attempted to fpread reports injurious to the cha- 
racter of Captain Calaman, who, according tQ 
the accounts v.e received from I fie de France, 
had conducted himfelf with equal courage and 
generofity. The Englifh Commander would 
have done well to have contradided thcfe reports, 


128 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792, 

by giving a juft iliatement of the faifts ; but it 
ieemed it was his intereft to difguife them : for 
it is an unheard-of thing for that nation to make 
an attempt upon velTels efcorted by a fliip carry- 
ing the flag of ours. 

Another Engjifh veiTel, La Couronne, which 
arrived the day after the frigate had come to an- 
chor, obferved the fame conduA. 

I ought to remark, that our Commander hav- 
ing fent an officer on board each of thefe veiTels, 
to comply with a cuftomary piece of etiquette, 
the Enghfh Captains were not poUte enough to 
return the compUment. 

I had already provided myfelf with fpecimens 
of moft of the curious plants that were to be 
found in the neighbourhood of the Cape Town ; 
and could not expe6l to encreafe ray colledion, 
without making an excurlion into fome of the 
more diftant parts of the country. I had for fc- 
veral days entertained a wifh to vifit the chain of 
mountains, called by the Dutch Franfche-Hoek, 
fituated at a much greater diftance eaftward of 
the town than their appearance might lead one 
to fuppofe them. Their afped: gave me reafon 
to hope that I fhould find them abounding with 
vegetable proda6lions. 

February 9. The gardener to our expedition 
made one of the party. We had hired a Hottentot 


Feb.] of la perouse. 129 

to lead the horfe that carried our baggage ; and 
a young negro, who hardly knew three words 
of the French language, ferved as our interpreter. 

As a paiTport was neceflary, M. Berg, one of 
the moil amiable and intelligent men of the Com- 
pany, provided us with one. 

Colonel Gordon, Commander of the troops at 
the Cape, had furniflied me with letters of recom- 
mendation to feveral of the colonifts. 

This gentleman is the celebrated travellei*, who 
communicated to Buffon the firft authentic ac- 
counts he received concerning the Giraffe, an 
arrimal till then very little known. Colonel Gor- 
don had penetrated as far as 21° S. lat. into the 
interior parts of Africa, with a view to making 
difcoveries in natural hiftory. He has often af- 
fured me, that at this diftance, more than twelve 
degrees north of the Cape, his barometrical ob- 
fervations Ihewed him, that the furface of this 
country was more than a hundred toifes above the 
level of the fea ; though, in traverfmg it, he had 
not been fenfible of any rifnig of the ground, 
but had thought he travelled over a plain that 
was very little elevated. Thefe obfervations, 
which he repeated at different times, after inter- 
vals of feveral days, feem to demonftrate that the 
furtacc of this country rifes, in a gradual afcent. 
Vol. I. I to 

1-50 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

to a height equal to that of the moft elevated 
niountanis in the other parts of the globe. 

I leave it to natural philofophers to determine, 
whether or not the finking of the mercury in the 
barometer proceeded from another caufe than that 
which produces the fame efFed:, when this inftru- 
ment is carried upon high mountains. 

We met a number of chariots drawn by three 
or four pairs of oxen. They wTre returning empty 
to the town, each of them condu(5ted by a Hot- 
tentot, who flood cre(fl in the carriage, and dired- 
cd his team with wonderful dexterity, by means 
of a long whip, which he held in his hand. 
Though the foremoft pair of oxen were at a great 
diftance from him, he never miffed any one of 
them that wanted the lalli. 

Our Hottentot marched on with his pipe in 
his mouth, and regaling himfelf from time to 
time with the Hottentot's fig (jnefcmlmanilmnmn 
edule), which grew among the fands on the road 
fide, without feeming to think of the horfe en- 
trufled to his care ; fo that our baggage fell off 
leveral times, and would have been left on the 
road, if we had not apprifcd our fmoker of it, w ho 
was walking on without taking any notice of the 
accident. We found it neceflary to ufe threats 
in order to roufe him from his lethargy, and ren- 
■ dcr him more attentive to his charge. 


Feb.] of la perouse. 131 

Several fpecies of the geranium, polygaJa, lobelia, 
&c. grew upon the fandy plain through which we 

Having arrived at fome fandy grounds, wc faw 
fevcral gazelles, but they kept at fo great a dif- 
tance from us that we were not able to flioot any 
of them. 

Two hours after dark, we arrived at the houfe 
of M. Bofman, at Bottelary. The letter of re- 
commendation, which Mr. Gordon had given us, 
procured us a very friendly reception from this 
worthy planter, whom we found fitting at fupper 
in the midft of his numerous family. He im- 
mediately invited us to fit down with him, and 
fet before us fome very agreeable ftrong-bodled 
wine, made from the grapes that grow about 
Bottelary. Some merchants of the town fell this 
wine at a very high price, as Conftantia wine, 
to which however it is inferior in quality ; and 
M. Bofman told us that it may be bought twelve 
times cheaper than the other. 

M. Bofman, in his infulated fituation upon a 
fmall fpot of fertile ground, furrounded by a large 
defart of fand, was, of courfe, very defirous of 
hearing our news ; but we found it very difficult 
to communicate any to him, as our negro inter- 
preter appeared now much lefs fit for his office, 
than we had before conceived him to be. After 

I 2 having 

132 VOYAG» IN SEARCH [l/Q^' 

having fpent a great deal of time with faying very 
httle, we went to take our repofe, of w^hich \\c 
flood in great need. We all envied the peaceable 
life w^hich this refpedlablQ planter leads, in the 
midft of a family W'here the greateft fimplicity of 
manners is united wath the mofc engaging polite- 

10th. As foon as it was day, we went to take 
a view of the grounds about this delightful habi- 
tation. We found in M. Bofman's garden moft 
of the kitchen-plants .and fruits of Europe ; fine 
plantations of almond -trees rofe before the front 
of the houfe, which w^as furrounded on all fides 
with vineyards that conflitute the chief wealth of 
the owner. 

Soon after fun-rife, M. Bofman's youngeft 
daughters, feeing that ^^c were colle^ling infers, 
came to offer us their affiftance. They hunted 
them through the 8;arden with incredible fwift- 
nefs ; and foon brought us • a fine colled:ion of 
fuch as they thought the prettiefl. 

As we were fliortly to fail from the Cape, we 

had not much time left us for our expedition to 

• Franfchc Hoek. We therefore took leave of this 

amiable family, w^th the mofl fcnfible regret. 

and proceeded on our journey. 

We arrived in good time at Stellenbofch, where 
we flopped at the houfe of M. Hoffman. 


Feb.] of l\ perouse. 133 

The manner in which we were received at 
Stellenbofch afforded a ftriking contraft with the 
franknefs and cordiaUty of our reception at Bot- 
telary. This was a very pleafant village ; but we 
found that we were not to expect every wdiere 
that agreeable franknefs ot^manners, w^hich cha- 
ra6lerifcs the planters of the Cape. We had ima- 
gined that a letter of recommendation from Co- 
lonel Gordon, addrefled to M. Hoffman, would 
be fufficient to introduce us: but it was not till 
after he had carefully examined our pafTport, that 
he invited us to remain at his houfe. There are 
no public inns at Stellenbofch, no more than at 
the Cape Town ; but the Dutch inhabitants of 
the town accommodate Grangers at a fettled price, 
which indeminifies the landlord. We were lodged 
at M. Hoffman's very nearly upon the fame foot- 
ing as at the Cape. 

On the following day I viflted the hills in the 
nei2;hbourhood of Stellenbofch. 

The beautiful tree called hrabeiumJlellnVifoVmm, 
remarkable for its fruit, which refemblcs in Hiape 
that of the almond- tree, grew here upon the 
banks of a rivulet that runs through the village. 

I enriched my collection with fevcral kinds of 
orcJuSy and with the fpecies of the proiea, called 
■mellifera, paJkns ?i\\6. fpectofa ; befides a number of 
other plants. 

I 3 On 


On the 12 th we proceeded on our way, intend- 
ing to arrive towards evening at Franfche Hoek. 
This place, which, as is impHed by its name, 
is partly inhabited by French, ferved as an afylum 
for the proteftant families, which in confequence 
o{ the perfecutions they fufFered on account of 
their religious opinions, crofTed the ocean, in the 
year 1675, with a view of eftabiifliing themfelves 
in this part of Africa, where they were well re- 
ceived by the Governor, Simon Vander Stel, and 
provided with every requifite for following the 
employments of hufbandry. 

The wind from the fouth-eaft blew with force 
fufficient to incommode us on our march. It 
was, however, by no means fo violent here, as we 
learnt upon our arrival that it had been at the 
Cape. The great difference in the force of thefe 
gales depends, undoubtedly, upon local caufes, as 
I have endeavoured to lliew upon a forrqer occa- 

It was on this day that the pinnace of the Ef- 
perance, commanded by Citizen le Grand, not 
being able to reach the Ihip, was obliged to run 
for fhelter off the ifland of Robben. 

We had to walk two hours after it was dark, 
before we arrived at Franfche Hoek, where we 
prefented ourfelves at the houfe of Gabriel De- 
prat, to whom 1 had a letter of recommendation. 


Feb.] of la perouse. 135 

As he was abfcnt, Jacob dc Villiers, one of his 
neighbours, invited us to remain at his houfe, 
where we met with a very friendly reception. 

The names of thefe planters led us to hope that 
we were now amongft people with whom we 
could converfe in our own language ; but thefe 
Frenchmen by extrad:ion, having been obliged to 
make ufc of the Dutch for fo long a fpace of time, 
retained nothing of their mother-tongue befides 
their family names. 

It will not be uninterefting to the reader to 
know the names of thofe French families that 
ftill furvived in the midft of thefe niountains. 
They were the following : 

Lombart, Faure, Rotif, Blignant, Duplcffis, 
Marec, Ponte, Naude, Cronler, Hugo, de Villiers, 
Marais, du BuiiTon, le Roux, Deprat, Rouffcaux, 
Villiers, Terrons, Hubert. 

We were here in a pleafant valley, where the 
rays of ^the fun, reflecfled from the furrounding 
niountains, foon ripen the grape, which is the 
chief fource of wealth to the inhabitants. A good 
deal of cheefe is alfo made here. 

We employed the two following days in climb- 
ing up the mountains in this neighbourhood. I 
here collected fpecimens of the pYoiea Jiorida and 
fcrrarta, amongft a great variety of other plants. 

Thefe mountains are compofed chiefly of gra- 
I 4 uitc. 

136 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [179^- 

nite, and a very hard fort of free-ftone. The 
mould produced by the decay of the vegetables 
grow upon them, is the caufe of the fertility of 
the vallies where the colonifts refide. Hence 
they are obliged to travel over fandy defarts in 
order to carry the produce of their labour to the 
town. This kind of fituation is common to all 
the eftablifliments at any conliderable diftance 
from the Cape. The cultivators are neceffitated 
to go more than 500,000 toifes into the interior 
of Africa, in order to fcek out fome fpots of 
arable land, fcattered like iflands in an ocean of 
fand ; and after they have found them, every one 
applies to the ground he has cleared whatever 
mode of cultivation he thinks moil adapted to 
the foil. The black flaves, though obliged to 
labour very hard, are in general treated with hu- 
manity. It is remarkable that, contrary to the 
prad:ice of the Spaniards, who always endeavour 
to make profelytes of their flaves, the Dutch plan- 
ters leave theirs in the moil profound ignorance 
of their religion. 

We frequently faw the fnakes, which are much 
dreaded by the inhabitants of the country, lying 
in wait under the trees for the birds which often 
become their prey. 

The zebras are very common in thefe moun- 
tains r 

Feb.] of la perouse. 13/ 

tains : they run away with prodigious fw iftne^ 
upon the approach of a man. 

The ape termed tnagot by Buffon (Jimm mimm^ 
Linn.), fometimes came very near to the hoiafc 
where we lodged. I once witneiled a fmgular fa^ 
which Ihews what authority thefc animals poiTels 
over their young. A large ape that was followed 
by a very little one, thinking himfelf unobierved, 
took it up in one of his paw^s and beat it for a coa.- 
fiderable fpace of time w ith the other. If thp 
apes knew how to proportion the punilliment Xq 
the offence, the cub mufi; have been very naughty ; 
for he got a moil fevere beating. 

The olive- coloured thrufh, and the flarling ol" 
the Cape of Good Hope, with fome v/ood-peckers, 
&c. w^ere the birds 1 mofl frequently faw during 
this excurfion. 

As our departure from the Cape w^as fixed to 
take place very foon, we were obliged to leave 
Franche Hoek much fooner than we could have 
wifhed. We were in fuch hafte to return to the 
town, that we bade adieu to our worthy hoft 
Jacob de Villiers, at ten o'clock in the evening, 
and immediately fet out on our journey. We 
marched the w^hole night through, and at length 
arrived at the fame hour of the following evening 
in the town, having travelled by way of the Paarl- 
Berg and Paarde-Berg. Such a forced march 


138 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

could not fail to prove extremely fatiguing to u?, 
who had for feveral days paft enjoyed but a \ery 
few hours fleep. One of the fervants belonging to 
the Efperance, Emard Serpoy, who had wiflied 
to accompany us, as he was paffionately fond of 
fliooting, was fo overtaken with drowfniefs about 
midnight, that v/e were obliged to let him fleep 
for half an hour upon the road, before he was able 
to proceed any farther with us. 

I was forry to learn, at my return from Franche 
Hoek, that we were to lofe three of our travel- 
ling companions, namely, the aftronomer Ber- 
trand, the naturalift Blavier, and the painter Ely, 
who had requeued the Commander to leave them 
on fliore, as their health did not allow them to 
accompany us farther on our expedition. Ber- 
trand having aicended the Table mountain a few 
days before, in order to make fome barometrical 
obferv'ations, had fallen in fuch a manner as to be 
very feverely hurt. I was informed at my return 
to France, that he was not fo fortunate as to fee 
his country once more, having died at the Cape, 
afliort time after our departure. 

As all the houfes in the Cape Tovv'^n are built 
with flat roofs, it prefents a very agreeable view. 
The fortifications on the fide facing the fea had 
been rendered flronger, a few years ago, by addi- 
tional ramparts. 


Feb.] of la perouse. 139 

The Commander perfuaded me, 33 the velTels 
were already fo much himbered, to lea%'e the col- 
lecfllor^s of natural hiftory, which I had made 
during our ftay at the Cape, in the hands of Gui, 
agent of the French government. This pcrfoii 
promifcd to fend them to France by the firft ojy- 
portunity. They, however, never arrived there, 
and I was informed at the Ifle de France, upon m^ 
return from the South Sea, that they had been 
feen by the natural ifts Mace and Aubert Petit 
Thouars, depofited in a granary belonging to this 
agent, long after our departure from the Cape ; 
though he had had plenty of opportunities to fend 
them to France, if his dcfign ha^ been to fulfil 
his engagement. 

Few fpots of the globe fo well deferve the at^ 
tention of a commercial nation, as the Cape of 
Good Hope. Its fituation has rendered it as aii 
anchoring ftation almoft indifpenfably neceflary 
for fliips failing to the Eaft Indies. It affords 
abundance of provifions ; but the reftridive regu- 
lations daily diminifli the number of lliips fre- 
quenting this harbour, as they now endeavour to 
reach the place of their deftination without touch- 
ing at the Cape ; and fome put into the harbour 
at St. Helena, where they are able to provifioa 
thcmfelves at an eafier rate. 

TJie fpirit of Ipeculation that prevails amongft 



the Dutch Company, has often induced them to 
feign a great fcarcity of provifions at the Cape, in 
order to enhance their price. The cultivators 
are not permitted to enter into a dired: bargain 
with ftrangers for the produce of their lands ; but 
are obliged to leave them to be difpofed of by the 
Company, who frequently purchafe them at a 
price four times lefs than that which they them- 
lelves receive. • 

The vexatious interference of the fuperior 
agents in the concerns of their fubordinate offi- 
cers, turns likewife to the difadvantage of ftran- 
gerS;, who find it impoffible to efcape from the 
lapacity of fo many perfons, all combined againft 
their intereft. This avaricious fpirit gradually 
undermines the profperity of this country, as it 
lenders navigators unwilling to touch at the Cape 
whenever they can avoid it. A ruinous propen- 
sity to extravagance, which has for fome years 
pail prevailed amongft the women, has produced 
a great change in the manners of the inhabitants;, 
who sre now eagerly intent upon adopting all 
the fafhions of Europe 

All thefe evils have arifen from the Dutch 
government having fo grofsly miftaken its own 
intereft, as to leave a place of the laft import- 
ance to the navigation of India, under the direc- 
tion of a company of private merchants. But it 


Feb.] of la perouse. 141 

is known, that the political views of this people 
generally a(5l in fubordination to the deiire of gain, 
which governs them, and is often in contradidVion 
with their interefts as a nation. - 

It was then expeded that commiffaries were 
to be fent from Europe, in order to put affairs 
upon abetter footing: but fuch commilTaries have 
been fent fcveral times, and the affairs ilill re- 
mained in their former condition. 

We laid in a fufficient ftock of provifions at 
the Cape to fupply the place of v>^hat we had al- 
ready confumed. It would have been well if as 
much of our European ftock as was bad in its 
quality had been changed for better. The con- 
trad:ors had deceived us in the quality of the 
wine which we bought of them. We had paid 
them double the ordinary price, that we might 
have it of the bcff quality, and fueh as would 
keep for a long time. Part of it, however, was 
already fpolled before We reached the Cape. 
When we arrived there, it was a matter of the 
utmoft importance to have it changed, and the 
more fo, as we knew we could not do it in the 
fubfequent part of our voyage. Wc might there 
have had our choice between the wine of the 
country and Bourdeaux wine, as a veffel at an- 
chor in the road had a cargo of the latter on 
board> Why it was neglcd:cd, I am at a lofs to 



comprehend. The confequcnce was, that our 
bad wine grew^ worfe and worfe, till we were at 
length obliged to fubftitute brandy in its place. 
This piece of negligence deprived us of one of 
the beft means for preftrving the" health of the 
crew during a voyage, in the courfe of which they 
ran the hazard of being in want of every nccef- 

The obfervations taken on board the Re- 
cherche, gave us for its anchoring flation at the 
Cape ofGood Hope, 33° 54^24"°4^25"E. 

The variation of the magnetic needle at the 
lame place was 24° 3^ W. 

Our aftronomer Bertrand found, for the place 
of his obfervatory in the town, 33° 55' 22" 4-5ths 
S. lat. 10« 3' 45" E. long. 

The variation of the magnetic needle, as ob- 
ferved by him, was 24° 3 1^ 5 2^ W. The dip of 
aflat needle gave 47° 25' . 

During the whole time we lay at anchor, the 
mercury in the thermometer was never higher 
than 25" above 0. 


Feb.] of la perouse 143 

C H A P. IV. 

Departure from the Cape of Good Hope. — Death of 
theMaJhr-Carpcnter of the Recherche. — Divcn 
Occurrences. — Smgular Flight of the Alhatrofs, 
— T//f Ijle of St. Paul feen. — Conflagratwn of 
'its Forejis — Prodigious Swar?ns of Lifers in our 
Ship's Bifcuit — Violent Fffe^is of the Surge — 
The Commander dangerovjly "womided — Liimt- 
nous Points at the Fxtremity of the Co7idu£iors 

— Large phofphorefcent Corpifcles In Coffe- 

quence of an erroneous Ohfervation ta\e7i hy Wil- 
laumez, we enter hy Miflake into Tempeft Pay in- 
fiead of Adventure Bay — General Ohfervations 
upon the Variatio?is of the Magnetic Needle — 
Gradual Diminution of the Phofphorefcency of 
the Water, proportionate to our Dijlance from 
the hand — Courfe of the Currents — We are ob- 
liged to heat the Place "where otir Time-keepers are 
\ept — Anchorage in Port Dentrecajleaiix. 


WE waited only for a favourable wind to 
quit our ftation at the the Cape, when a 
fouth-eall breeze fpringing up about ten o'clock 
in the forenoon, enabled us to get under w^ay. 
Scarcely had we fpread our fails, when a fudden 


144 VOYAGE IN SEARCH: [l702> 

fquall from the mountains blew with fuch vio- 
lence, that it prevented us for fome time from 
making ufc of our rudder, fo that we were in 
danger of running foul of fome of the fliips which 
lay at anchor in the road. However, we foon run 
pafl them, and flood for the offing. 

18th. About eight in the morning our mafter- 
carpenter, Louis Gargan, died, a vidim to the 
excefles in which he had indulged during our ftay 
at the Cape. A fever, which appeared flight in its 
commencement, grew afterwards fo violent as to 
put an end to his life. We felt the lofs of this 
manthe more fenfibly, as the carpenter of a Ihip 
is one of the mofl ufeful perfons on board, efpe- 
cially in a voyage undertaken for the purpofe of 
difcovery in the midft of feas full of rocks and 
fhoals, where one is in perpetual danger of being 
fhipwrecked, and where, if one does not poflefs 
the means of confl;ru6ling another veffel to re- 
ceive the crew, all hopes of revifiting one's native 
country mull go with the wreck to the bottom. 
Two, perfons had concealed themfclves in the 
Ihip before onr departure from the Cape, and did 
not make their appearance upon deck till we were 
fo far from 'the land that it was no more pra<fli- 
cable to put them on Iliore. They were, of courfe, 
permitted to accompany us. The one was a fol- 
dier, deferted from the garrifon at the Cape ; the 


Feb.] of la perouse. 145 

other a German, a very ikilful workman In ma- 
thematical inftruments, who had pradlifed his 
trade for nuie years in England. The EngUlh, 
he told us, were going to fend him to Botany- 
bay, amongft a great number of other convid:s. 
He aflured us, that he had been condemned to 
be fent thither for debt. Having feized an op- 
portunity of efcaping from the veffel where he 
was confined, he fled for refuge to the mountains 
in the neighbourhood of the Cape-Town. We 
had no ufe for the talents of this artift in the line 
of his profeffion ; we therefore firll employed 
him as our armourer, and afterwards as a fmith. 
The armourer of our fliip had been left on Ihore 
at the Cape, on account of ficknefs. 

On the 20th of February we weathered Needle 
Point, at the diftance of about 100 toifes, with 
winds from S. W. and W. 

On the 22d we were in 35° lat. S. lonsf. 20° E. 


when the foundings gave us our depth at (32 fa- 
thoms, over a bottom of grey calcareous fand. 

The currents had hitherto fet to the N. W. but 
on the 25 th they drove us towards S. W. as wc 
were now off the channel of Mozambique, where 
the current, at this feafon of the year, takes a S. 
W. direction along the coaft of Natal, which we 
had in fight. 

On the 2Gth the f.jrge ran fo high, that a 
Vol. I. K windmill^ 


wmdmlll, whicj^ we had faftened very ftrongly 
to the poop, was carried away by the billows. A& 
our vefTel was much too heavily laden^ we thought 
ourfelves indemnified for the lofs, by getting rid 
of a burden of eleven hundred v/eight. I do not 
know how it happened that we were burthened 
with fuch an almofl ufelefs machine, fmce where- 
ever we were able to procure wheat, we could 
likewife procure flour. At any rate, a hand-mill 
fix times lighter, \N'ould have been lefs cumber- 
fome, and would have anfwered our purpofe 

The rolling of the veiTel w^as fo violent, that 
our time-keepers ftruck againft the fides of their 
boxes, which ought to have been made rather 
more fpacious. 

We ftill faw a great number of flying fifli, 
though wc had already pafled the Z5'^ of S. la- 

The quarter-galleries of both veiTels were built 
much too low, particularly confidering they drew 
fo deep. , We had reafon to apprehend that they 
might be carried away by the furge, if it fhould 
long continue to run fo high : thofe of the low^er 
deck of the Efpcrance wxre already confiderably 

2Qth. At this feafon of the year, veiTels that 
approach near to the mouth of the channel of 


Ma^Ch.] of la perouse. 147 

Mozambique, generally meet with violent ftorms. 
The gradual fall of the mercury in the barometer 
to the amount of eight lines, whilft the north- eaft 
winds blew from this gulph, gave us a prefage of 
a ftill more violent hurricane. The clouds con- 
tained fuch a fuperabundance of electric matter, 
that though our condu(fl:ors helped to draw off a 
portion of it, the lightning frequently ft ruck into 
the water at the diftance of a few yards from our 
vcffel. A gale from the eaft, which brought back 
fair weather, was preceded by a rife of two lines 
in the mercury of the barometer. On the ] ft of' 
March, the fea was fwelled to fuch a height by 
this gale, that we often loft fight of our confort 
behind the billows. This veilel, feen at the dif- 
tance of two or three hundred toifes, prefented a 
magnificent fped:acle ; fometimes it appeared bu- 
ried in the waves ; again it emerged, and mount- 
ed to the very fummit of the furge, ftiewing a 
great part of its keel above the water. 

3d. As the fwell abated, we knew that we had 
failed beyond the mouth of the channel of Mo- 
zambiqiie ; for, although the wind continued to 
blow with nearly the fame violence as on the pre- 
ceding days, the fea, being fticltered by the coafts 
of Madagafcar, became very tranquil. We faw a 
prodigious quantity of the fuctis piriformis , the 

K 2 largeft 


largeft fpecies of that genus, floating upon the; 
furface of the water : they had undoubtedly been 
detached from the rocks that bound the coaft-of 
that large if] and. This fucus, which is feveral 
yards in length, is provided with fmall bladders 
filled with air at the extremities of its higheft 
leaves, whereby it is enabled in its growth to take 
a direction towards the furface of the water. 

About five o'clock in the eveninar we were fur- 
rounded by a great number of whales, which came 
within a hundred yards of our fliip. The Anglo- 
Americans, who fometimes vifit thefe feas in or- 
der to fifli for the whales, are more than indem- 
nified for the expences of their equipment by the 
profits from the oil which they carry home. < 

The dcpofitions of the Captains Magon Lepi- 
nay and Preaudet, had determined our Comman- 
der to endeavour to reach the Admiralty Iflands 
as foon as poffibie, thinking that, after paffing 
along the north coaft of New Holland, we fliould 
be able to arrive there before the return of the 
eafi:ern monfoon. We had, however, made as 
yet but very little way, being, on the 5th of March, 
only in 44° E. Ion. The apprehenfion of being 
detained at the Molucca Ifiands during the whole 
time of the eaft monfoon, which was expecfled to 
fet in during the month of March, induced him 


March.] of la perouse. mq 

to relinqullli his former intention, and refolve to 
double the Cape of Van Diemen, in order to get 
into the South Seas. 

About half an hour after fix o'clock in the 
morning, he fent a boat to the Efperance to ac- 
quaint the Captain with his determination. The 
wind fell all of a fudden w hen the two iliips were 
■^nery clofe to each other. A very high furge in*- 
creafed the danger of our fituation ; fo that the 
bowfprit of the Efperance was very near running 
foul of our tlern, had the veiTels not been kept 
clear of each other by the boats. 

We found that the currents fet to the north. 
The ring by which the long-boat, that had been 
fent to take an obfervation of their direction, was 
faitened to the cable, gave way as they were hoifl- 
jng it on board, and the compafs that they had 
been ufmg was deftroyed. 

Though we were upwards of 1,000,000 toifes 
from the Cape of Good Hope, we faw feveral al- 
batrolTcs (d'lomedea exuJans), fomc of which let us 
come very near them, as they floated upon the 
furface of the fea. We frequently obfervcd them 
thrufl their beaks very deep under the w'ater to 
feize their prey. 

The flight of thefe birds is very aftonifhing. 
One cannot perceive any motion of their wings 
except at the moment they raife themfelves into 

K 3 the 

150 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

the air ; when they frequently ufe their feet alfo, 
which, being webbed, ferve them to makefeveral 
ftrokes againft the water, in order to raife them- 
felves out of it. This impulfion being once 
given, they have no more occafion to f3:rike their 
wings together, but hold them very widely ex- 
panded, whilft they fail along, balancing their 
bodies alternately from right to left, and fkim- 
ming fwiftly over the furface of the fea in quefl 
of their food. This mode of poifmg themfelves 
in the air undoubtedly ferves to accelerate their 
flight, but one can hardly fuppofe it to be fnffi- 
cient for fupporting them above the furface. 
Perhaps fome imperceptible tremulous motion of 
their feathers may be the principal caufe of their 
extraordinary mode of flying. If that be the 
cafe, they muft be provided with fome particular 
mufcles adapted for the purpofe ; on which ac- 
count I think that the ftrud;ure of the albatrofs 
deferves to be very attentively invefligated by ana- 

The piiff?is of Buffon (procellana ptiffi?iusj, 
were very numerous m thefe feas. The flight of 
this bird is performed in a manner analogous to 
that of the albatrofs, for he often Ikims along for 
a great length of time without any perceptible 
motion of his wings : it is only when he changes 
his oblique pofition from one fide to the other 


March.] of la perouse. 151 

that one may obfcrve him ftrlke the air with the 
lowermoft wing, by which his body is immedi- 
ately inclined in the oppofite direction. 

We were fleering our courfe S. E. E. in order 
to pals between the iflands of St. Paul and Am- 
■fterdam ; but the wind having Ihifted to S. E. we 
were obliged to tack S. S. W. 

7th. About nine o'clock in the evening, as we 
were in lat. 3-1° 45' S. and long. 44'^ 5' E. the 
wind fmclt very ftrona; of fea- water. Had we 
been faiUng in parts Icfs known than thefe, we 
fhould have had reafon to apprehend that we 
were very near to fome ifland. It is probable 
that the fmell proceeded from a quantity of tucus 
detached from the fouth coaft of Madagafcar, 
and carried a great way^ into the fea by the cur- 

One of our faiiors, in a fit of drunkennefs, 
threw himfelf into the fea. As the weather hap- 
pened very fortunately to be calm he was taken 
up and put on board ; but this immerfion only 
increafed his drunkennefs, and he would have 
thrown hlmfcif again into the water if he had 
not been held faft. 

We continued for twelve days with flight 
breezes that fhiftcd from S. S. W. to N. N. W. 
ve-ering round by E. to dire(5l our courfe, as near 
as poffiblc; {o as to pafs between the illands of 

K 4 Amflcrdam 

152 TOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

Amfterdam and St. Paul. Though this courfe 
was the fliorteft, with refpe6l to diftance, that 
we could have taken in order to arrive at the 
channel through which we intended to fail, the 
want of wind detained us much longer than 
might have been the cafe had we fleered in ano- 
ther direction. By failing more dired:iy fouth- 
ward, we fliould foon »have met with winds that 
would have carried us in a fhort time to the Cape 
of Van Diemen. 

It was not before the 28th of March, when 
we were in lat, 3 7^^ S. that the N. N. W. wind 
began to blow pretty frefh. A great flight of 
p:u11s and mews Ihowed us that we were near 
land ; as thefe birds never fly to any great diftance 
from the fliore. • We at length [came in fight of 
it about half after one in the afternoon. It was 
the ifland of St. Paul, which bore S. E. at the 
diftance of about 20,ooo toifes. This ifland was 
difcovered in lOgt) by Captain Valming, and 
called by him the Ifle of Amfl:erdam, whilft he 
gave the name of the Ifle of St. Paul to the mofl: 
.fouthern of the two. Captain Cook, whom I 
have herein followed, rcverfcd thefe appellations, 
and gave the name of Ifle of Amfl:erdam to the 
.fouthernmoft, and that of Mc of St. Paul to the 

The Ifle of St. Paul prefjntcd itfeif, at a dif- 


March.] of la perouse. 153 

tance,as if covered with thick clouds, above which 
the tops of the mountains were vifible. In four 
hours time we were near enough to perceive that 
thefe clouds arofe from the illand itfelf, from 
whence a thick fmoke afcended, which almoft 
entirely covered it, efpecially towards the north. 
We obferved flames in different places, and foon 
perceived that the forefls were on fire : the courfe 
of the flames and fmoke, which appeared fuc- 
cefiQvely in different parts of the country, pointed 
out to us the progrefs of the conflagration. We 
fteered our courfe fo as to pafs as near as polTible 
to w indward of the ifland. The fame fpecies of 
birds that we had obferved a few hours before we 
efpied land w^ere flying about the rocks where 
they had their nefls. A great number of feals 
fwam amongfl large mafTes of fucus that had 
been detached from the ifland, along the fouthern 
coafl of which we ran^red at the diflance of about 


250'toifes from the fiiore. This coafl is very 
fteep and perfeAly fafe : the furges, which fol- 
lowed its direction, v>^ould have apprized us of our 
danger in approaching it if there had been any 
flioals. The mountains on the fouth-eafl fide of 
the ifland dcfcend Vvith very fteep declivities as 
far as the edges of the fea, and appeared to m.e to 
confill of layers of free-flone, inclined from north 
to ibiith fo ■ as to form an angle of fifty degrees 


^54 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

■with the horizon. Farther to the fouth I obferved 
horizontal layers of the fame kind of ftone, from 
whence a fmall rivulet difcharged itfelf, in a caf- 
cade, into the fea. The rocks facing the fea were 
fliaped int(^ a variety of thofc grotefque figures, 
commonly termed lufus natura. We obferved a 
light fmoke afcending in puffs from a fmall fub- 
terraneous cavern at a little diftance from the 
fliore ; though we could not learn whether the 
forefts had caught fire from fome conflagration in 
the bowels of the earth, or had been kindled in- 
tentionally by the inhabitants. I was informed 
at Ifle de France, upon my return from the South 
Seas, that an American veffel had left fome men 
at the iflands of Amfterdam and St. Paul, for the 
purpofe of colleding oil from the fat of feals, 
which are very numerous on thofe coafls. But 
though we w^atched very attentively to fee if any 
fignal was made for our affiftance, we obferved 
no figns of the ifland's being inhabited. At any 
rate it would have been impoffible to put in 
there, as we could not have found an anchoring- 
place except to leeward of the ifland, where we 
ran the rifk of being fuffocated by the fmoke. 
The fmcll of the fmoke feemed to Hiow that it 
proceeded entirely from the combullion of vege- 

The mountains gradually diminifu in height 


April.] of la perouse. 155 

towards the fouth-eaft end of the illand ; fo that, 
in favourable weather, velTels might eafily put in 
at that part of the coaft. We obferved feveral 
rivulets, which, after winding with a ferpentine 
courfe amongft the hills, difcharged themfclves 
into the fea. 

We were ftill very near to the illand w4ien the 
nigh,t came on. The land then appeared as if co- 
vered with a fhcet of fire, whilft the illuminated 
fmoke gave that vivid appearance to the iky 
which generally portends a hurricane. 

The ifle of St. Paul is about 10,000 toifes in 
circumference, and fituated in about 37^ 50' S. 
lat. and 75^ 2' E. Ion. 

The variation of the magnetic needle was here 
171° W. 

During the continuance of the gales from N. W. 
and S. W. the mercury of the barometer gradually 
fell eight lines. On the firft of April, it was fta- 
tionary at 27 inches 7 lines, when the gale was fo 
ftrong, that we went at the rate of ten knots 
with the fore and main top-fails fet. We never 
ran fo fall; as on this day, in the whole courfe of 
our voyage. We were now already in 40|° S. lat. 
Lon. 85° E. 

Hitherto we had flattered ourfelves that no 
fraud had been pra>£lifed upon us, at leaft with 

/ relped: 


refpeifl to the quality of our fea-bifcuit. But we 
iiifcovered, when it was too late, that a part of 
it had already made a v oyage before ; for, at the 
iend of five months after our departure from Breft, 
it fw^armed with prodigious numbers of thofe 
maggots, that are afterwards changed into the 
fpecies of fly known by the name of dermejies pa~ 
■niceus. Thefe infects foon became very trouble- 
some to us : in the night-time they burnt them- 
ielves at our -lamps in fuch numbers, as very fre- 
quently to extinguilli them.. From the bifcuits 
the maggots foon fpread themfelves throughout 
.all the reil of our provifions, and it lafted a conli- 
derable time before we could conquer thedifguft 
which it at firfl gave us, when we faw them 
fw arming in all our food. 

2d. The impetuofi ty and frequency of the 
fqualls obliged us to make a great many tacks. 
-They once forgot to Ihiver the main top-fail be- 
fore they brailed it up, and it was inllantly torn 
in pieces. 

On the 4th of April, being in 4 1 "^ S. lat. 92^ E. 
Ion. we faw a great number of birds ; amongll 
Others, gulls and the lams inarhms, which fcldom 
fly far from the land. Probably we w ere near to 
fome rock or illand. Though 'we had made a 
very good run, we ftili faw the fame kinds ot birds 


Aprii..] of la perouse, 157 

on the following day. The land where they have 
their abode may poffibly be difcovered, when thefc 
feas lliall be more frequented by navigators. 

14th. A fall of the mercury in the barometer 
from 28 inches 3 lines, to 27 inches 7 lines, an- 
nounced the approach of violent gales, which 
blew from W. and S. W. and raifed the billows 
fo high that they frequently daflied over our 
decks. One of them, that had entan2;led our 
mizen chains, broke againft the ftern of the veflel 
with fuch force, that the failors thought we had 
ftruck upon a rock. The fliock was tremendous, 
and fome of the ftore-rooms inftantly leaked. 

The violence of the fhock had thrown the 
Commander againft one of the corners of a bar- 
rel-organ, intended as a prefent to fome favage 
chief. The furgeon thought at firft that he had 
frad:ured one of his falfe ribs ; and the pain was 
lb great, that, whenever he fneezed, it threw him 
into a fainting fit. However, he foon recovered 
his health. 

During the night the atmofphere was filled 
with a fuperabundance of eledric matter : a part 
v/as drawn off by means of our condudors, upon 
the top of which we obferved a luminous fpeck, 
that vanilhed and re-appeared feveral times in fuc- 
ceffion. The fea appeared more phofphoric than 


158 V0YAGE IN SEARCH [1/92, 

In the courfe of the night a large wave dailied 
over the deck of our veffel, having made its way 
through the opening between the fore-caftle and 
quarter-deck, where we kept our boats. When I 
Sprang out of my bed, I found the cabin filled 
with water, and imagined we were going to the 
bottom. It kept us a long time employed before 
we could rid the Diip of the water it had taken 
in. Three or four fuch waves would infallibly 
have funk us. We fliould not have ran fuch a ha- 
zard, if we had been provided with means to lay 
gratings over the large opening by which the wave 

On the 1 /th of April, when we were in lat. 
43" S. long. 129° E- the variation of the mag- 
netic needle was o. 

The Efperance w^as apprifed, that in cafe of 
reparation, our rendezvous at Van Diemen's Cape 
was to be the Bay of Adventure, inftead of the 
Baie des Huitres. 

We lay to under our fore-fail during the night 
of the 20th, as our day's work had brought us 
£o near the coaft, that we could not carry full fail. 
At nine in the evening, we founded, without 
ftriking ground, with a line of feventy-five fa- 
thoms. We brought up v/ith the lead a great 
quantity of phofphoric fubftances, from about 
three to feven inches in circumference. As the 
• com- 

April,] oflaperouse. 15Q 

compreffibility of water has been demonftrated, 
we know the principal caufe of thefe lubftances 
being fufpcndcd at different depths below the fur- 
face of the water, in proportion to their fpecific 

21 ft. As foon as it was day we directed our 
courfe, with full fails, E. N. E. 

About half an hour after nine o'clock, we ob- 
ferved a rock with a very fliarp point, known by 
the name of the Mew-Stone. Some other rocks 
and mountains of moderate height appeared to 
the eaftward. The coaft was indented with fe- 
veral Imall bights in the land ; fome pretty high 
mountains were feen at a fmall diftance from the 
fliore, and \N'e could diftinguijQi the large trees 
which covered their fummits. 

We foon bore in with a bay open to the fouth- 
eaft. An ifiand was \ ifitle to the eaftward, and 
nearer us we perceived breakers to N. E. 

It was the Commander's intention to caft an- 
chor in Adventure-bay. As his wound did not 
yet permit him to leave his cabin, he was obliged 
to give his orders refpetfting our route, according 
to obfervations which were reported to him as 
they were taken. An erroneous obfervation, taken 
by Citizen Willaumez, * having been reported to 

* When we made the land of the Cape of Van DIcmen, 
"Willaumez was diredleu to take the neceflary obfcivations. 



him, he gave orders to manoeuvre the fhips,Yo as 
to enter the bay fituated on our left. In vain we 
looked for the Pinguin's Illand, thinking our- 
felves in Adventure-bay, though it really was 
Tempeft-bay, named thus by Tafman, who, hav- 
ing entered it in the month of November l042, 
was in the moft imminent danger of being driven 
afhore by a S. E. wind, when he endeavoured to 
get into the main lea. 

As we had got very far into the bight of the 
bay, our foundings gave us a depth of from fifteen 
to twenty-five fathoms, over a bottom of lliells. 
The Commander was on the point of giving or- 
ders to leave the bay, that we might pafs the 
night in the open fea : however, he refolved to 
difpatch two boats, the one to the northward 

and the other to the fouth-eaft, in order to look 


out for fome place of llielter for our ihips. 

The men in the boat fent to the north fide of 
the bay, found a place of anchorage, with a very 
good bottom, where we might eafily procure 
wood and water. They had feen fome remains 
of huts, and near them large heaps of fhells, that 
appeared to have been broiled by the natives. 

On being aiked the bearing of Eddy-Stone, he faid it bor« 
S. 19^ W. though it adually bore S. 19°- E. Accordingly 
the Commander gave orders to make the bay on our left, 
as he could not doubt that it was A-dventure-bay. 

• ' - It 

April.] of la perouse. 161 

It was, however, too late for us to put into 
this anchorage before night. As the weather 
was fair, it was refolved to call anchor in Tem- 
peft-bay, in a bottom of grey fand, at the depth 
of ten fathoms. We had been fixty-four days 
on our paffage from the Cape to this place. Moil: 
of the navigators who have made it before us, 
have performed it in fifty or at moft fifty-five 
days, It is to be obferved, that they have ge- 
nerally fteered fouthward as foon as poffible, in 
order to get into the track of the weflerly winds. 
This route is fomewhat longer than that which 
we took, but at fea it is not always by taking 
the Ihortefl road that one arrives the fooncfl at 
one's place of deflination. Navigators ought to 
be well acquainted with the ordinary courfes of 
the winds, that they may be able to get into thofe 
which are the mofl favourable. The night con- 
tinued very fine, though the air was charged with 
a great deal of moifture. We were llieltered 
from the N. W. and W. N. W. winds, though 
we now and then experienced a few flight blafls. 

We caught a great quantity of fifhes with our 
lines. They were of a great variety of different 
kinds : the mofl numerous were thofe of the fpe- 
cies gadiis. 

The variation of the magnetic needle, obferved 
when we pafTed under the meridian of Ifle de 

Vol, I. L France, 

162 roTAGK IN sEARcir [1702. 

France, at the diftance of more than 700,000 
toifcs foiith, had been greater by twelve degrees 
than we found it near the coaft of that ifland — 
a great difference when confidercd as arifnig 
merely from change of latitude. 

The greatcfb W. variation obferved, was on the 
3d of March. It was then 30|", our kit. being 
84° 3c/ S. and long. 37° 45' E. From that time 
it continued to decreafe, till it became 0, in lat, 
43*^ S. long. 129*^ E. ; after which it pafled to E, 
and continued to increafe in proportion as we ad- 
vanced eaftward. 

The W. variation of the magnetic needle, as 
obferved till the period when it was the greateft., 
had been more influenced by change of longitude 
than of latitude ; though from that time, till we 
vvxrc under the meridian of Ifle de France, it 
appeared to depend much more upon change of 
latitude ; for, from the point at v/hich it had been 
the greatcft, till we paffed under the meridian of 
Jlle de France, having changed our longitude by 
.17 degrees, and o*ur latitude by 2i, the variation 
had been only 4°, though, by a change of latitude 
to 17 degrees further fouth, the- variation had 
been found 12'^ more than at Ide de France. 

The phofporefcence of the fca, during this paf- 
" age, had diminiflied in an invcrfe proportion to 
-our dift^ance from the land ; iu that a confiderable 


April.] of la peroijse. l63 

time before we faw the ifland of St. Paul, one 
could hardly perceive any appearance of phof- 
phorefcence in the waves. 

During our pallage from the Cape, the ther- 
mometer had never indicated lower than 8^ be- 
low 0, nor higher than 20^ above 0. The mer- 
cury in the barometer, during the fame period, 
had never llood higher than 28 inches 7 lines, 
nor lower than 2/ inches / lines. 

While wx were in the track of the variable 
winds, the currents had fet from 10'' to 20'' N. ; 
but whilft we were failing off the S. W. coaft of 
New Holland, they had fet eaftward. Thefe 
differences in their direction depend upon tlic 
fituation of the lands. 

Our tables for re(5l:ifying the irregularities of 
our time-keepers arinng from difference of tem- 
perature, extended no farther than ] 5^ of Reau- 
mur's fcale, and the balance-bow for our pendu- 
lum-clock was only calculated to anfwer between 
105*^ and 115^. The latter was conftantly above 
115*, and the temperature of the atmofphcre 
was very often lower than 15° of the thermo- 
meter. It was neceflary to keep up a degree of 
temperature, at leaft equal to this, in the place 
where our time-keepers were depofited. A com- 
mon lamp might have anfwercd this purpofe ; but 

JL/ 2 we 

l64 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

we preferred one of D'Argand's, in order to avoid 
the fmoke. 

2 2d. The boats that had been difpatched the 
preceding day for that purpofe, were agaih fent to 
-found at the entrance of the ftation where we in- 
tended to caft anchor, as they had not had tirrle 
fufficient to do it the evening before. About 
half an hour after nine we received the agreeable 
intelligence, that it was a very well flickered har- 
bour, with fafe anchorage in a bottom of muddy 
fand, not lefs than 3i fathoms in depth at the 
entrance facing the middle of the bay. Their 
loundings had given them from 2 1 to 4 fathoms 
throughout a confiderable part of the harbour, 
which extends land-inwards about 2,500 toifes. 
It was a better ftation in every refped: than Ad- 
venture-bay, and we could here fupply ourfelves 
with wood and water as eafily as we could wifli. 

Though the breeze was againfl us, it was at 
firft fo inconfiderable that we could be towed to- 
wards the harbour; but we had fcarcely proceed- 
ed 500 toifes, when it blew freflier and obliged us 
to caft an anchor. The Efperancc, however, 
continued to be towed, and nearly reached the 
entrance of the harbour before it grew dark. 

A boat which we fent out to filh, took ib many 
at a fmgle draught of the net, that the diHribution 


April.] of la perouse. l65 

was immediately made, and every one contented 
with his portion. 

We were much furprlfed to find amongft the 
fifh caught with the Hne in the courfe of the night, 
feme fliarks about a fathom in length. They 
were of the fpecics fqnalus chiereus. This kind 
of fhark never rifes from the bottom of the water. 
We never faw it approach the furface during the 
whole time of our ftay at the Cape of Van Die- 
men. It does not appear to be dangerous to man; 
for our failors, though they bathed here very fre- 
quently, never met with any accident. It finds 
fufficient food on thefe coafi:s to fatisfy its vora- 
city without attacking men : otherwife the na- 
tives of the country, who frequently dive to a 
great depth into the fea in queft of Ihell-fifh, 
would be in perpetual danger of being devoured 
by thefe animals. 

Some mountains, which appeared to be above 
500 toifcs in perpendicular height, were vifible 
towards the north at a diftance of about 15,000 
toifes. Their fummits were covered with tall 
trees, whofe verdure gave additional beauty to the 
magnificent profped which they exhibited. 

An officer belonging to our vcfiel, who had 
been fent to take the foundings at the farther 
end of the harbour, went on lliore, where he 
found fcveral huts, and near them the remains of 

L 3 broiled 


broiled fhcll-fifli, which had evidently ferved for 
food to the natives. 

25th. As we had hardly any wind, we weighed 
anchor a few hours before day-light, in order to 
be towed into the harbour. As the calm con- 
tinued, this proved the moft expeditious method, 
and we were foon brought into our anchoring 
place. We ranged at a fmall dillance from a rock 
fituated about the middle of the entrance, leaving 
it to our left. Our ibundings indicated a depth 
of 2i to 3| fathoms ; in other parts of the fam.e 
foalt it was from 4 1 to 1 It. 

About eight o'clock, we caft anchor in a depth 
of three fathoms, 350 toifes from the entnmce of 
the harbour, to w hich we gave the name of Port 
Dentrecafteaux. The neareft fliore was at the 
diftance of about 250 toifes to the eaflward. 

It is difficult to exprefs the fenfations we felt, 
at finding ourfclves at length flieltcred in this 
folitary harbour at the extremity of the globe, 
after having been fo long driven to and fro in the 
bcean by the violence of the ftorms. 

The boats afterwards towed in the Efperance, 
which caft anchor about one o'clock in the alter- 
noon, at a diftance of 150 toifes fouthward of the 
Recherche. At firll we had attempted to ap- 
proach nearer to the fhore without taking the 
foundings accurately ; but we fobn found our- 


April.] of la perouse. 1O7 

felves furrounded by the ooze, and were obliged 
to heave in at the capftern in order to extricate 

CHAP. \\ 

:ihode at Port Deyitrccajieanx — Slgm of tJie Coa/Ts 
being frequented by the Savages — DrffereJit Ex- 
curjions luio the interior Furt of the Coimtry— 
Trees of an euonnons Height-— Excellence of the 
Soil — Bhick S'lvans — Large Trunks of Trees, 
hollowed by Fire,ferue the Natives as Places of 
Retreat — Kangouron — Obfervatio?is rehthig io 
Comparative Anato7?iy — Places of SJielter aguinfl 
the Wind conftruSied by the Natives — Conjiruc- 
tion of tlieir Huts — A fudden Gift of Wind 
hrea\smOur Chain — JFe rnu aground in the Mud 
' — Meet with a young Savage — InteUig€7tce of a 
Pajfage by vjhicli one may fail from Tempcfl into 
Adventure-bay — Huts of the Natives — Phoca 
Monachus — The Heart of this amphibious Animal 
lias no Foramen Ovale — Obfervations relating to 
Comparative Anatomy — Traces of Beafls of Prey 
at the Cape of Van, Diemen — Huts, which appear 
to have been lately inhabited — Viviparous Flies, 
the Larva of which produce fpeedy PutrefaSJion 
in FlejU-meat — Citizen Riche finds fome burnt 
L 4 human 

l68 Voyage in search [l792. 

human Bones — Our Mafter Sail-maker hfes htm'' 
felf in the Woods — Both Vejfels run aground in 
the Mud — Ute?ijils of the Savages — Place of the 
Ohfervatory — Variation of the Magnetic Needle 
— Time of High-water in the Harbour^—Depar- 
turefrom Port Dentrecafieaux — Paffage through 
the Straits of Dentrecafleaux — Fires — Savages 
feen o?t the Shore — One of them kindles the Fire 
in different Places — We cajl Ajichor in a large 
Bay at the Etitrance of the Straits of Defztre 
' ca/ieaux — Fxcurfion into the Country — Savages 
found dr effing their Food at the Fire — The Straits 
which we had difcovered receive the Name of the 
Straits of Dentrecafteaux — Anchoring Places in 
this Channel — Fxcmfions into the Countries fttu- 
ated along its Coafls — Rencounters with the Sa- 
vages — Departure from the Straits of Dentreca- 

PORT Dentrecafteaux is fituated at the fartheft 
end of Tempeft-bay, and forms an almoft 
oval bafm, extending about 2,500 toifes in length 
towards N. N. E. Its ereatefi breadth is about 
7O0 toifes. The tall forefts that furrounded us 
on all fides, and the mountains at no great dif- 
tance from the coaft, which Iheltered more than 
one half of the circumference of the harbour, 
added to the fecurity of our anchorage. Though 


April.] of la perouse. 169 

tlie gales were never fo high, our pinnaces could 
iail about it with fecurity. A muddy bottom, 
about 3I fathoms in depth, let them run no ha- 
zard if they were driven aground. More than 
1 00 velTels of the line might ride here with fafety, 
and be fupplied with as much wood and water as 
they Hood in need of. 

Towards the N. N. E. extremity of the har- 
bour a fmall river difcharges iti'elf into the fea. 
Some of our boats attempted to row up the ilream, 
but were prevented by the large trees that lay 
acrofs it. A few wild dogs were obfcrvcd in the 
neighbouring country; and fome fheltering places, 
nightly conftrudled of the barks of trees, fhewed 
that the fliores were frequented by the natives. 
A piece of alga marina, of the ipecies known by 
the name oi fucus pahnatusy was picked up. It 
was cut into the fhape of a purfe, and appeared to 
have been ufed as a drinking veiTel, being found 
filled with water. 

The weft fide of the harbour Is the moft fa- 
vourable for taking in a fupply of water. We took 
in ours on the W. S. W. and our wood on the 
oppofite fhore. 

A fire that was feen at the diftance of about 
5000 toifes to the South, informed us that we 
were near the habitations of the favages, although 
wc had as yet feen none of them. 


1^0 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [? / D2. 

In the afternoon I went on fhorc, accompanied 
by the gardener and two others of our fhip's com- 
pany, in order to make an excurfion into the 
country towards N. E. We were filled with ad- 
miration at the fight of thefe ancient forefls, in 
which the found of the axe had never been heard. 
The eye was afloniflied in contemplating the 
prodigious fizc of thefe trees, amongfl: which there 
were fome myrtles more than 25 fathoms in 
height, whofe tufted fummits were crowned with 
an ever verdant foliage :" others, loofencd by age 
from their roots, were fupported by the neigh- 
bouring trees, whilfl, as they gradually decayed, 
they were incorporated piece after piece with the 
parent-earth. The mofl luxuriant vigour of vege- 
tation is here contrafled with its final dilTolution, 
and prefents to the mind a flriking pi6lure of the 
operations of nature, who, left to hcrfelf, never 
deflroys but that flie may again create. 

The trees in this forcft did not grow fo clofe 
together as to prevent us from penetrating into it. 
We v/alked for a long time over ground, w^herc 
the w^ater, impeded in its courfe, has formed itfelf 
into marfhes, the borders of which we examined. 
Deeper within the forefl, we found fmall rivulets 
that contained very good water. Almofl every 
where the foil confifled of a very fine mould, 
produced by the decay of vegetables, over a bed 


April.] of la perousi^. 171 

of reddiih, and fometimes greyifh fand. In fomc 
places it coniilled of an argillaceous kind of earth, 
which imbibing the water with great facility, 
forms itfelf into bogs ; in others this earth has 
been walhed away by the water filtrating through 
the ground, fo as to form pools, and fometimes 
deep holes, the furface of which being covered 
with plants, one does not eafily apprehend any 
danger in approaching them, but by the inadver- 
tency of a fuigle moment m.ay fall into them un- 
awares. An accident of this kind happened to 
the furgeon of the Efperance, who, v/hilfl he was 
a-hunting, fet his foot upon what he took to be 
firm ground, and fell into a very deep bog. He 
immediately difappeared ; but fortunately he was 
able to fwim. 

We found fome rudiments of huts in thefe 
"Woods, confifling of a frame-work made of the 
branches of young trees, and defigned to be after- 
wards filled up with pieces of the bark, which 
the natives always ule to cover the outfide of their 

I gathered feveral fpecles of the eucalyptus, 
during this excurfion ; amongil others, that which 
White has denominated eiicalypius rejimftra. This 
IS a very tall tree, the fpungy bark of which is 
often three inches in thicknefs, and feparates very 
ealily from the trunk. It produces a gum refm, 


173 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

of a reddifh colour and aftringent tafte, which is 
ufed for medicinal purpofes. We likewife col- 
lected feveral fpecies of philadelphuSy the haiikjia 
hitegrlfoUa, a new fpecies ofepacris, &c. 

On the fea-iliore we met the fervant of Citi- 
zen Riche, greatly delighted with having fhot a 
few birds, which he was carrying to his mafter. 
This man, who had but juft recovered from a 
fit of illnefs, was ftill upon the lift of the furgeon 
of the Efperance, who thought he had a right to 
what his patient had fhot ; but neither the threat 
of being purged, nor even that of being put upon 
fpare diet could make him give up a fmgle bird. 
The furgeon too kept his word ; for he made him 
fwallow a purgative and put him upon a fpare re- 
gimen. The fervant, having learnt by melancholy 
experience the confequences of difobeying the 
Do(5tor, always ran away as faft as he was able, 
whenever he efpied him in any of his fliooting 
excurfions afterwards. 

After having directed our route for fbmc time 
to the north-eaftward, we arrived before night at 
the coaft dired:ly oppofite to our veiTels. We ex- 
pected to be rmmediately taken on board, as we 
had been promifed that a boat fhouW be fcnt to 
fetch us, as foon as we wanted one. This might 
have been done in five minutes ; but we were 
obliged to wait two hours on the fhore. It would 


April.] of la perouse. 173 

have been a very proper regulation, if a boat had 
been kept exprefsly for the ufe of thofe gentle- 
men of the expedition who were appointed to 
make refearches into natural hiftory. 

A bird that was fhot upon one of the lakes, 
iiirprifed us very much by the fmgularity of its 
plumage. It was a new fpecies of the fwan, of 
the fame beautiful form, but rather larger than 
ours. Its colour was a fhining black, as ftriking 
in its appearance as the clear white of ours. In 
each of its wings it had fix large white feathers ; 
a character, which I have uniformly remarked in 
feveral others that were afterwards killed. The 
upper mandibule was of a red colour, wath a 
tranfverfe white ftrcak near the extremity. The 
male had at the bafe of it an excrefcence confill- 
ing of two protuberances, that were fcarcely ob- 
fervable in the female. The lower mandibule is 
red at the ed2:es and white in the middle. The 
feet are of a dark grey. (See Plate IX.) 

24th. It was ten o'clock of the next morning, 
before I could finilh my defcription and prepara- 
tion of the fpecimens I had colle(fted the preced- 
ing day. I then went to examine the country 
fituated to the eaftward of our anchoring ftation. 
It frequently happened that after having pene- 
trated into the woods to the diilance of 500 toifes, 
at moll, from the fhorC; I was obliged to return 


If4 VOYAGE IN SEAttCH [1792, 

towards the coafl on account of the difHcultics 
that obilrudted my pafTagc, which was not only 
impeded by the underwood, but often rendered 
impratflicable by the ftems of large trees thrown 
down by the wind. The dire«5lion in which they 
lay upon the ground, which was generally from 
fouth-weil: to north-eaft, proves that they were 
torn from their roots by violent fouth-weft winds. 
As thefe trees fhoot out their roots in an almoft 
horizontal direcflion, they are eafily torn from the 
g;round by the force of the wind, and frequently 
carry with them a great quantity of earth, which 
at a diftance appears like a wall raifed by the 
hands of men. 

The fineft trees in this country are the different 
{pedes of eucalyptus. Their ordinary thicknefs is 
about eighteen feet : I have meafured fomxC that 
were twenty-five in circumference. The fpongy 
bark of the cusalyptus rejtntfera, becoming ilip- 
pery in confequence of the moiiture ^lat con- 
ftantly prevails in the heart of thefe thick forcfts. 
renders it fliil more difficult to penetrate into 
them. This bark very readily peels off into pieces 
that have a great degree of flexibility, and are 
ufed by the natives for covering their huts. They 
often find long ftripes of it about a foot in breadth^ 
which fpontaneoufly Ihell themfelves ofJYrom the 
lower part of the trunk. They might eafily peel 


April.] of la perouse. 175 

it off in pieces of twenty-five or thirty feet in 

Moft of the large trees near the edges of the 
fca have been hollowed near their roots by means 
of fire. The cavities are generally direded to- 
w^ards the north-eafl:, fo as to ferve as places of 
fhelter againft the fouth-wefi: winds, which ap- 
pear to be the mofi: predominant and violent in 
thefe parts. It cannot be doubted that thefe ca- 
vities are the work of men ; for had they been 
produced by any accidental caufe, fuch as the 
Underwood taking fire, the flames muft have cn- 
compafied the whole circumference of the tree. 
They feem to be places of Ihelter for the natives 
whilfl they eat their meals. We found in fbmc 
of them the remains of the f!iell-filli on which 
they feed, and frequently the cinders of the fires 
at which they had drefi^od their vidiuals. The la- 
vages, however, are not very fafe in thefe hollow- 
trees ; for the trunk being wcalLcncd by the ex- 
cavation, may eafily be thrown down by a violent 
gull of wind ; neither arc their feats very com- 
modious, as the ground is very une\cn, and we 
obfcrved no contrivances to render it more level, 
Anderfon fpeaks of hearths of clay, made by the 
natives in thefe hollow trees. Whenever 1 have 
found any clay in them, it did not appear to me 
to have been placed there by the favagcs ; but 


%y6 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

one frequently meets with it piled up between 
the roots in confequence of natural caufes. At 
any rate, the natives of this country, as we fhall 
< fee hereafter, do not make their fires upon hearths, 
but kindle them on the bare ground, and prepare 
their vi<fi:uals over the coals. 

Some of the largefl trees were hollowed by 
the fire throughout the whole length of their 
trunks, fo as to form a ibrt of chimnies : never- 
thelefs they continued to vegetate. 

Many of the large trunks that we felled during 
our ftay at this place, were found, notwithftand- 
ing their apparent foundnefs externally, to be 
rotten at the heart. 

After having followed the fiiore that extends 
with numerous windings, towards the fouth-eaft, 
we attempted to make our way acrofs fome 
marfhes, in order to get into grounds that had ac- 
quired a more folid confidence from the roots of 
the plants ; but a fpecies of the Jclerya, which 
grows to the height of fix or eight feet, cut our 
hands and faces, with its leaves, in fuch a manner 
that we were obliged to defifi: from our attempt. 

During this excurfion I killed feveral birds of 
the genus inotaclUa, and fome parrots, amongfi: 
which was the parrot of New Caledonia, de- 
fcribed by Latham. 

We now directed our route towards the en- 

Apuij..] of la perouse. 177 

trance of the harbour, where tents had been 
pitched for the purpofe of taking obfervations, as 
we were furc of meeting there with a boat to 
carry us on board* 

The aftronomers expelled the firft of Jupiter's 
fatelHtcs to appear at about a quarter of an hour 
after eight in the evening ; but with all their 
activity they could not get their inftruments 
ready in due time ■ fo that the opportunity was 
loll. Bonvouloir, one of our officers, who had 
made the preliminary calculations a long time 
fmce, was- fo afFcdled by this difappointment, 
that he wept like a child. 

One of our crew fliot a young kangarou upon 
the fliore. The animalj after running about a 
hundred yards along the fand, threw himfelf into 
the fea and expired. It was remarkable that he 
ufed all his four feet in running, not fupporting 
himfelf folely upon the hinder feet, as he is ufually 
reprefented to do ; though thefe as well as tlie 
fore, are without hair on the inner fide. As he 
goes in quefl of his food more in the night-time 
than during the day, nature has provided him 
with the membrane termed by zoologifts tnem- 
hrana n'l^iitans, lituated at the interior angle of 
the eye, which he can extend at pleafure over the 
whole ball. His fi:oma*ch was full of vegetable-, 
and divided by three very diflind partition?. 

Vol. L M Avhich 

i;8 ^ VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l702. 

which feem to approach him to the clafs of the 
ruminant quadrupeds. His tefiicles were on the 
outfide of the abdomen. Thefe animals probably 
find a part of their food on the fea-coaft, as we 
frequently obferved the prints of their feet in the 

25th. Having left fome of my plants in the 
hands of the painter, that he might take a draw- 
ing of them, I followed the windings of the coaft 
in a fouth-eafl: dired:ion. The large ilippery peb- 
bles which covered the ftrand were a great im- 
pediment to us in walking. 

We found on the fkirts of the foreft a fence 
conftruded by the natives againft the winds from 
the bay. It confifted of ftripes of the bark of the 
eucalyptus rejimfera^ interwoven between ftakes - 
fixed perpendicularly into the ground, forming 
an arch, of about a third of the circumference of 
a circle, nine feet in length and three in height, 
with its convex fide turned toward the bav. A 
femicircular elevation covered with cinders, and 
heaped round with /hells, pointed out the place 
where the natives drefTed their victuals. Such a 
fence muft be of great fervicc to them to prevent 
their fires being extinguifhed,when the wind 
blows with violence from the fea. 

Having croflcd a promontory of the coaft, we 
walked with difficulty over the Icofe fands, which 

cover . 

April.] of la perouse. 179 

cover a large tra6t of land, that fometimes lies 
under water. 

We found another of the fences above defcribed 
on the fkirt of the foreft. It was of the fame 
conftru6lion and height as the former, but twice 
as long. Within it were broken pieces of drink- 
ing velfels made of thtfucus palmatus. 

We arrived at the borders of a lake, which is 
conned:ed with the fea at flood-tide. Its grcatcft 
length was / 50 toifes, and its breadth 250. 

On our return by a more direcfl road through 
the w^oods, we faw fome unfinifhed huts oi the 
natives. They confifted of branches fixed by both 
ends into the ground, and fupported the one upon 
the other, fo as to form a frame- work of an he- 
mifpherical form, about four feet and an half in 
height. The branches were faftened together 
with the leaves of a fpecies of grafs ; and the 
buildings feemed to require nothing more in order 
to be completed, than to receive their coverings 
cf bark, which renders them impenetrable to the 

It feems that human beings are here cither 
Very few in number or in a very lavage ftate. 
Though a great number of the men from both 
veiTels had penetrated very far into the country, 
they had not met with a fmgle inhabitant. 

The Cape of Van Diemen is fubjed:, in confe- 
M 2 quence 


quence of its high latitude, to very violent winds, 
which blow from the mountains in blafts. Fear* 
ing that our cables might rot upon the muddy 
bottom of this harbour, we had taken them on 
board and held on our chain. A fudden and vio- 
lent gale from N. W. drove us from our anchor- 
age, to the eaft fide of the harbour, w^here we 
ran aground in the mud. After having drawn 
in the piece of cable to which the chain was faf- 
tened, we found that one of the links had been 
broken ; though upon examining it we could not 
perceive any flaw in the iron. It appeared that 
the chain had been made of brittle metal. We 
thought it fortunate that it had been put to the 
proof in a harbour, where we ran no other dan- 
ger than that of being ftuck in the mud ; other- 
wife this chain, upon which our fafety depended, 
would have become the caufe of our ruin. 

26th. I remained the whole day, on board, em- 
ployed with preparing and dcfcribing the nume- 
rous curiofities of natural hiftory, which I had 
colle6led on the preceding days. 

On the following day, foon after dawn, we fet 
out with a defign of penetrating as far as we were 
able into the country. We were fet on fliore to- 
Avards S. E. After having followed the windings 
of the Ihore for fome time, we came to a road 
frequented by the natives, which enabled us to 


April.] of la perouse 181 

enter the foreft in a fouth dire6lion. We after- 
wards arrived at a fine fandy beach, extending 
about 1000 toifes in the fame dire^flion. 

A beautiful fpecies of engeroji, the woody ftem 
of which is covered with very fmall bulbous leaves, 
grew in this dry ground. Though there was very 
little wind, the waves broke with violence over a 
great extent of the beach. We regularly obferv- 
ed that, after three fucceffive waves, one much 
larger than the reft followed and broke higher 
upon the beach, fo as to oblige us to keep further 
off from the fliore. 

On a fmall rifmg ground of the coaft, I found 
the fpecies of the haiikjia, denominated by Gasrt- 
ner hankjia gihhofa. Whilft we were journeying 
through the foreft, at a fmall diftance from the 
Ihore, one of our company obferved a young fa- 
vage, who was running away affrighted by a ftiot 
which had been fired at a bird. As foon as we 
were informed of it, we all raninpurfuit of him, 
being very defirous of having an interview with 
fome of the natives. But all our fearch was in 
vain ; for the young favage had difappcared by 
rufliing into the thickeft of the foreft at the rifk 
of tearing his fkhi ; for he was ftark naked. We 
found one of the fences againft the fca- winds at 
the place where he had been firft feen. 

The hope of meeting with fome of the favages 
M 3 determined 


determined us to penetrate farther into the foreft^ 
with a refblution to pafs the night there. We 
walked for the fpace of an hour towards the fouth- 
eaft, over a very rugged path, before we arrived 
at a large plain that extended as far as the fea- 
fhore. A beautiful fpccies of the mimofa grew 
here, with long oval leaves, and generally about 
twenty-five or thirty feet in height. 

Night compelled lis to look out for a place of 
fhelter. We could not have recourfe to the ca- 
vities burnt in large trees by the natives, as we 
were too far diftant from them : we therefore 
conftrudied a hut of branches, which we had 
lopped from the trees with a pole-axe that one of 
our company carried with him for his defence. 
The hardnefs of the ground was meliorated with 
a bed of fern, of a fpecies very nearly refembling 
^ the poJypodhim d'tchotonnim. 

Being clofe to the iliore, we had a very exten- 
five profped:, but obferved no figns of the natives 
being near us. We kindled a fire as the weather. 
w^as very fharp. 

We were not altogether eafy with refpc61; to 
our means of fubfiftence ; for when we left the 
fliip wx had furniihed ourfelves with but one day's 
provifions ; bat as failors are ufed always to take 
fome fea-bifcuit with them when they go on a 
journey, thofe who accompanied us were ftiil 


April.] of la pePxOUSE. 183 

provided with ibmc of it. With this flock of 
eatables, our moll nccefTury requifite was water, 
which we were obhgcd to fend for to a dillancc 
o{ 1000 toifes. Such a fuppcr as this certainly 
required a good appetite. 

As we were feven in number, we had not 
much to fear from the natives. We however 
fettled it that every one iliouid fland upon watch 
in his turn, that we might be informed of their 
motions in -cafe any of them fhould come near us. 

The feverity of the cold obliged us to quit our 
hut and lie down to fleep round the fire. 

28th. As foon as it was day we went out wath 
our guns, to endeavour to Ihoot fomething for 
our break faft. We foon killed a couple of rooks, 
which w^ere immediately broiled and eaten, as if 
they had been the moft delicate food. 

We had been obliged to reduce ourfelves to a 
very moderate allowance on the preceding even- 
ing, that we might have means of fubfiflence for 
the following day ; but we found, when it w^as 
too late, that the perfon to whom we had intrufl- 
ed the care of our provifions, was not to be de- 
pended upon, for of the fix bifcuits that had been 
committed to his charge, only four were left. 
Had he carried his breach of trufl: a little flirther, 
we fhould have been obliged to return to the 
fhips immediately, with the mortification of bc- 

M-1 _ intr 

184 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

ing compelled to relinquifh our intended re- 

We foon arrived at the borders of a large lake, 
conneded with the fea by a channel about 120 
feet in breadth. We attempted to ford it, but 
it was too deep about the middle, 

Amongft a great variety of other plants that 
grew in the neighbouring (voods, I obferved fe- 
veral fpecies of a new genus of the pedicidar'ia, 
very nearly refembling the polygala. Amongft 
the Ihrubs which ornamented the grounds near 
. the Ihore, w^as a beautiful fpecies of fenfitive 
plant with fimple leaves, the ftalk of which was 
bent into the form of the letter S. 

We faw a large flock of black fwans failing 
upon the lake ; but the_y were not within reach 
of our guns. Some fmall iflands were vifible to- 
wards S. E. near the oppofite fliore of the lake. 
We killed a number of fnipes of different kinds 
while we dired:ed our march to.wards S. W. in 
order to ar-rive at the fartheft extremity of the 
lake. The bottom of the lake is here fo even, 
that throughout a furface of more than fifty toifes 
in length, the water is hardly more than a loot 
and an half deep. It is covered v/ith a prodigious 
quantity of fiiells, many of which are decayed in" 
confcqucnce of the length of time they have lain ' 


April.] of la perouse. 185 

The crtftd marina is found upon thefe Ihores. 
I difcovered at ?. little diftance from them anew 
fpecies of parfley, which 1 named apium projira- 
tum, on account of the pofition of its Item, which 
always creeps along the ground. Its analogy with 
the other fpecies of the fame genus, led m.e to 
think it might be good to eat, and it anfwered 
my expectations. We carried a large quantity of 
it on board with us, which was acceptable to 
mariners who felt the neceffity of obviating, by 
vegetable diet, the bad effects of the fait provi- 
fions on which we had lived during the whole of 
our pafTage from the Cape of Good Hope to that 
of Van Diemen. 

Cretin, one of the officers of our fhip, together 
with the engineer, had been fent with the long- 
boat by our Commander, in order to reconnoitre 
Tempeft-bay. They brought intelligence at their 
return, after having advanced fifteen or twenty 
thoufand toifes into a channel which we had left 
on our right when we enteredthe bay, that every 
appearance concurred to make it probable that 
this was a flrait. Wherever they'^had founded 
they found very good anchorage ground. 

2yth. I was very little on fliore during the two 
following days. 

30th. The whole forenoon I employed in de- 
fcribing and preparing the copious colled:ions 



whkh I had made on my lall: excurfion. In 
thofc parts of the country which I examined in 
the afternoon, I found feveral plants of the tribe 
o( Gfchis, fome^ of which I gave to be copied by 
the painter. 

The filhing nets were regularly fent out every 
evemng, and abundance of fifli was taken. The 
meals we now made on board contralled very 
ilrikingly with thofe we had been obliged to put 
up with during our palTage, 

I m.uft here remark, that thofe of our company 
■who were engaged in the purfuit of natural hif- 
tory, were not permitted to take with them, on 
their excurlions, the fmalleft quantity of that al- 
lowance of frefh proviiions which we claimed as 
our right : fhip's bifcuit, cheefe, brandy, and 
fometimes a little falted bacoii> was all that was 
provided for us. The reafons we allcdged were 
fufficient to evince the juftice of our demand ; 
ncverthelefs, we had no other provifions allowed 
us on thefe occafions, during the whole courfe of 
oar expedition. I fhould have paffed over this 
circumftance in filence, had I not thought that it 
might afford a ufeful hint to perfons employed in 
the fame purfuit, who may hereafter be engaged 
in fuch expeditions. 

May ift. Irefolved to examine the other coafl: 
of the harbour to the eailward. The bottom was 


May.] op la perouse. 187 

here fo lliallow, that we could not come clofe to 
the land with our boat, fo that we were obliged 
to wade part of the way iii the water. 

I followed the coaft in a northerly direcflion, 
fometimes penetrating a fhort w^ay into the forefts. 
As it was low-tide, I w'alked with great facility 
along the fhore, where I obferved feveral fmall 
holes, in the form of a turmel, made in the fand, 
each of which contained a fmall crab at the bot- 
tom. Upon drawing out the animal, it foon 
crawled back dnto its hiding place, which, as I 
judge from its analogy with that of the formica 
leo in our country, fcrvcs it likewife as a trap to 
catch its prey. 

I w^as agreeably furprifcd by the fmgular form 
of a new fpecies of fungus, which grew amongft 
the molfes with which the ground was covered. 
I named it oferoRy on account of the difpoiition of 
its radii. 

Its roots are fmall filaments attached to a fun- 
gous tubercle, which fupports a globular volva, 
of a whitifh colour and gelatinous ccnfiftence, 
marked both within and without with fevcn 

From the centre of this volva proceeds a ftlpes 
of a reddiih colour, and an almoft cylindrical 
form, hollow throughout, and open at its fuperior 
extremity, which forms a fort o{ cup, of a fine 



red colour, and divided into feven bifurcate radii, 
yellow at their extremities. The whole fujrface 
of this fungus is fmooth. 

This new genus ought to be placed next in or- 
der to the genus phalha of Linnaeus. 

Explanation of the figures in Plate XIL 

Tig. 1. The fungus. 

Wig. 2. A tranfverfe feclion of the volva, ihew- 
ing its interior parts. 

Fig. 3. A longitudinal fccflion of the ftipes. 

The declivities of the mountains fituated to the 
caftward, form a pleafant valley, from whence 
the waters, collected there by the union of a great 
number of fmall ftreams, are difcharged into the 
bay. By wafhing the ftems of the large trees 
which cover the country, through which it flows, 
the water acquires a brownifh tinge. The clofe- 
nefs of the fhrubs, and the marflics which occupy 
the low grounds of this valley render it very dif- 
ficult of accefs. We were, however, refolved to 
attempt it at the rifk of fticking faft in the mud ; 
but were often Hopped in our progrefs, by a new 
fpecies of th-cfcleria, to which I gave the name of 
fcleriagra7idis, as it frequently grows to the height 
of twelve feet. Its leaves are as iharp at the edges 
as a piece of glafs ; its berries arc oval and of a 
reddilli colour, and contain a fort of almond, 


..^ /. 

6 ■■.:. 

£ k-l 


May.] of la perouse. 18Q 

which the parrots frequently feed upon, notwith- 
ftanding the hardnefs of the fliell which furrounds 

The moft common ilirub in thefe low grounds 
was a new fpecies of the emhothrhun, remarkable 
for the hardnefs of its leaves. Theie leaves are 
of an oval form, three inches in length and one 
in breadth. 

We followed a very difficult path, in order to 
arrive at the place where our men were taking in. 
water. Nischt overtook us before we had finillied 
more than half our journey, and to add to our 
misfortunes, a very high wind from the weft 
brought with it fuch a heavy rain, that we were 
obliged, like the favagesof New Holland, to ieek 
for fhelter in hollow trunks of trees. We had 
reafon to apprehend that the fignals we made for 
a boat to come to fetch us, would be rendered 
ufelefs by the rainy weather, and were beginning 
to make preparations for paffing a very unpleaiant 
night in the midft of the foreft ; when we heard 
the voices of fome failors who were fent to fetch 
us on board. 

They had at length fucceeded in extricating 
the anchor to which the chain that was broken 
on the 25th of April had been faftened. The drag 
had been ufed in vain as the chain was funk too 
deep mto the mud. The hold of the anchor in 



the ground was fo ftrong, that the two long boats 
laihed together were repeatedly filled with water 
whilft they were hauling at the buoy-rope. Be- 
iides, it was funk fo deep, that the divers could 
tiot find its bill : it would have been better if 
the main capflan had been ufed. They then be- 
came fenfible of the neceflity of doubling the buoy- 
rope and heaving the anchors from time to time, 
to prevent them from fniking too deep in the 
muddy bottom. 

Two boats had been fcnt a fecond time to re- 
connoitre the north- eaft fide of Tempefl-bay, as 
far as Cape Tafinan. They returned at the end 
of four days, and it appeared to refiilt from their 
obfervatlons, that Tafman's head-land and the 
coafl of Adventure-bay made part of an illand 
feparated from Van Diemens land by the fea. 
After they had gone up the channel as far as 
43° 1/^ S. lat. they were obliged to return for 
want of provifions. 

2d. My occupations on board did not permit 
me to go far into the country. 
. 3d. On the following day we traverfed a glade 
that extended in a north-eall direction, and con- 
ducted us to the great lake. We had examined 
the fouthern fide of it in a former excurfion, but 
w^e wiflied ilill to vifit its northern coaft, the va- 
rious fituations of which gave us reafon to expedl 


May.] of la perouse!. igi 

an abundance of natural curlofities : nor were our 
hopes deceived. This coaft was in many places 
formed of high banks, very difficult of accefs ; 
the water frequently extending as flir as the foot 
of the hills. Different fpecies of m'lmofa, with 
fimple leaves, grev/ under the Ihade of the larcic 

It appears that the natives fometimcs fix their 
habitations upon the borders of this lake, which 
affords them abundance of food in the fliell-fillt 
it contains. We found a hut which they had 
built a few paces from the fliore, of a femi-ovaJ 
form, about three feet and three quarters high, 
and four feet broad at the bafe. It confiiled of 
branches fixed at both ends into the ground and 
bent into a Yemi- circular form, fupporting each 
other, fo as to form a pretty folid frame- work, 
which was covered with the bark of trees. 

Amongfl a number of other curious plants 
which I colle(5led, I was ftruck with the beauty 
of the flower of a new fpecies of aletrh, remark- 
able for its bright fcarlet colour. 

As the fcafon was already far advanced, we 
found very few infed:s. 

Some hours before fun-fet we directed our 
courfe to the fouth in order to return to our fhips ; 
but it was already dark before we arrived at a 
fandy beach that we wxre acquainted with. We 



were ftill at a great diftance from the Ihips, and 
it was not before half an hour after nine o'clock 
that we arrived at the tents of obfervation, from 
whence w^e were foon conveyed on board. 

5th. I remained on board during the greater 
part of the two following days, and employed 
myfelf with fluffing the fkins of a variety of rare 
birds, and defcribing the natural curiofities which 
1 had colleded. 

The want of room in our vefTel put me under 
the neceffity of drying the plants, which I had 
' prefer ved in paper, at the fire. As my cabin was 
already full, I had no other place where I could 
depofit fome of my fpecimens of plants that had 
not got perfectly dry than the great cabin. Dau- 
ribeau, who a^ledasfirft lieutenant, thought that 
this place ought not to be lumbered with fuch 
ufelefs things as natural curiofities, and ordered 
my two prclTes, with the plants they contained^* 
to be turned out. I was obliged to appeal to the 
Commander, who annulled this a6l of authority, 
and ordered that the preiTes lliould remain where 
I had placed them. 

At low water we found a variety of curious 
Ihells on the fhore. Tihs harbour afforded us 
great plenty of very fine oyfi:ers. 

The eafi; coaffc of the harbour contained a 
quantity of pyrites in cr\fi:als of various forms. 

May.] of la perouse. ' 193 

We likewlfe obferved large mall'es of filex in very 
clofe ftrata, which bore a great refemblance to 
petrified wood. 

One of our carpenters killed an amphibious ani^ 
mal of the ipecies known by the name of phoca 
monachus, about fix feet in length. 

Phyliologiils have explained in a very ingeni- 
ous manner how amphibious animals are enabled 
to remain fo long under the water by means of 
the foramen ovale ; but, upon examining the heart 
of this animal with the utmoft attention, I did 
not find that it had siny foramen ovale. Probably 
the fame may be the cafe with many other am- 
phibious animals. By purfuing thefe refearches 
we may one day difcover the true caufe of the 
aftoniiliing faculty pofleiTed by thefe animals, of 
living equally well both in the air and in the 

Each fide of its lungs is divided by a tranf- 
verfe fiiTure into two lobes. 

The ftomach, which refemblcs in fhape ver)" 
nearly that of a hog, contained a large quantity 
of calcareous fand, amongffc which 1 obferved fe- 
velral ihell-fifh that were fliill entire. The firll 
part of the function of digeftion in this animal 
feems to confill: in deftroving the fnell in which 
the fifh is enclofed, whereby a quantity of fand is 
produced in its ftomach, which does not appear 

Vol, I- N to 


to pafs through the reft of the inteftinal canal, 
but is probably difgorged in the fame manner as 
many fnakcs difgorge the bones of tne animals on 
which they feed. Poffibly too this fand may ferve 
them as a fort of ballaft, b)^ which they are en- 
abled to keep themfelves at the bottom of the 

As the food upon which they live is very eafily 
found, their mouth is formed with a very fmall 
orifice. As they live more in the water than in 
the air, they require a great power of refrad:ion 
in the humours of the eye ; whence the vitreous 
humour ?^ ^'■^^^nd to be very denfe. They are 
likevvi urbmdcd with the memhrana niSfitafis, 
whereby t.^ey are enabled to admit a greater or 
lelTer quantity of light to the eye at pleafure. 

The great variety of mv other occupations did 
not permit me to purfue thefe anatomical invef- 
tigations any farther. 

The dried excrements of this animal produce 
a very fine powder of a deep yellow colour, which 
our painter thoiight might be ufcd with advan- 
tage in the arts. 

(3th. I had not as yet been able to procure any 
of the flowers of anevv^ fpecles of the eucoJyptnSy 
remarkable by its fruit, which very miuch refem- 
bles a coat-button in fhape. 

This tree, which is one of thetalleft in nature, 


May.] of la perouse. 1^5 

as it grows fometimes to the height of 150 feet, 
blolToms only near its fummit. Its trunk exacflly 
refembles that of the eucalyptus refmifera, when 
its fpongy bark has been peeled off. In other 
fefpedis thefe two fpecies are nearly of the fame 
dimenfions. The trunk, which is very ftraight, 
at ieaft to one half of its height, might be ufefully 
employed in fhip-building, and efpecially for 
mafts, although it is neither fo light nor fo elaftic 
as that of the fir. Poffibly it might be of advan- 
tage to conftrud. mafts of different pieces of tim- 
ber, and even to perforate the large trunks of' trees 
throughout their whole length, fo as to render 
them lighter^ and to give them ff rength by bind- 
ing them at equal diffances with hoops of iron. 
By this means, I ihould think, they might be ren- 
dered as ftrong as one could wifli ; fmce perfons 
verfed in mechanics know that a cylinder, though 
hollow, ftill retains a great degree of ftrength. 

We were obliged to cat down one of thefe trees 
in order to obtain its bloffoms. Being already in 
a very flanting pofition, it was eafily felled. As 
the fun ilione very bright the fap was mounting 
in abundance, and as foon as the tree w^as cut 
down it flowed very copioufiy from the lower 
part of the trunk . 

This beautiful tree, which belong;? to the tribe 
of the myrtles, has a very fmooth bark ; its 

N 2 branches 

1q6 voyage in search [1/02. 

branches are fomewhat crooked, and have to- 
wards their extremity alternate leaves, ilightly 
bent, and" about fix inches inj length, and one- 
half in breadths 

The flovv'ers are folitary, and grow from the 
bafe of the flalk of the leaf. 

The calix is lliaped like an inverted urn, and 
confifts, like that of the other genera of the fame 
tribe, of a fmgle leaf, which falls off as foon as 
the ftamina arc completely formed. 

It kas no corolla. 

The ftamina are numerous and attached to ther 
fides of the receptacle. ^ 

The ftyle is fimple and divided at its bafe into 
four partitions. It has only one ftigma. 

The capfule is open at the top, and generally 
divided into four partitions, which contain a num- 
ber of angular feeds ; at the bafe it has four angles, 
two of which projecfl more than the reft. It is 
fliaped like a button ; on which account I have 
denominated this tree eucalyptus globulus. 

Explanation of the Figures in Plate XIII. 
Fig. 1 . Branch of the eucalyptus globulus. 
Fig. 2. Flower. 
Fig. 3. Fruit. 
Fig. 4. Calix. 
The bark, leaves and fruit ot this tree are of 

May.] of la perousEo 197 

an aromatic nature, and might be employed for 
economical ufes in the place of thofe aromatics 
with which we have hitherto been furnifhcd ex- 
clufively by the Molucca Iflands. 

On the feventh, 1 was obliged to employ almoft 
the whole day in preparing my colle^ljons, which 
accumulated prodigioufly from day to dav. I 
could therefore extend my refearches only to a 
very fmall dillance from our anchoring-ftation. 
But on the following day, I fet out in the after- 
noon with a defign of fpending three or four days 
in the woods without returning at night to the 
fliips, I was obliged to take this refolution in 
order to colle6l fpecimens of fuch plants as only 
grew at a confiderable diftance from our ftation. 

We had a great variety of different kinds of 
European grain on board, which might be advan- 
tageoufly propagated at this extremity of New 
Holland. The temperature that generally pre- 
vails in this country led us to hope that they 
would fucceed. Our gardener was directed to 
prepare a fpot of ground fo as to render it fit for 
receiving this dcpofit. He dug a fmall garden 
tor this purpofe on the eaft coaft of the harbour, 
fituatcd E, N. E. of our place of anchorage. 

We flept on the banks of a rivulet near the 
'Aeftern extrcrpity of the great lake, along the 

N 3 fouthern 


fouthern coafl: of which we dired;ed our route on 
the following day. We faw fome pelicans ; but 
they did not come within gun-lhot of us. 

Piron, the painter to the expedition, who was 
of our party, took feveral drawings of the land- 
fcape. The round hills, covered with tall trees, 
which bounded the horizon added greatly to the 
beauty of the profpe<5l. 

We wxre obliged to return back by the road 
we had come^ in order to arrive at the oppofite 
fide of the lake. Piron returned on board. 

I difcovercd an evergreen tree, which has its 
nutfituated, like that of the acajou/upon aflefhy 
receptacle much larger than itfelfo I therefore 
iiamed this new genus exocarpos. 

It has hermaphrodite flowers upon the fame pe- 
duncle with others which are diflin6lly male and 

The male flowers have a calix divided into five 
roundifh leaves ; they have no corolla ; the fta- 
mina, which are five in number, are fmall and 
attached to the calix between its divifions ; the 
germen abortive. 

The female flowers have a calix fimilar to that 
of the male ; but neither corolla nor ftamina : 
the ovarium is globular, with a fiiort liyle ; the 
ftigma circular and flat. 


May.] of la perouse. 199 

In the hermaphrodite flowers, the caUx, {la- 
mina and ovarium are as I have deferibcd them 
in the others. 

The fruit is a nut of an almoft fpherical form, 
and of a blackifli colour, placed upon a receptacle, 
fleihy, red, divided in the middle, and about three 
times as large as the nut. 

The kernel is of an oily nature, and of the fame 
fhape with its fliell. 

The principal charadlers of this plant have led 
me to rank it among the terebinthinaceous tribe, 
next to the anacardium. I have given it the 
name of exocarpos cuprejjiformh. 

Explanation of the Figures Plate XIV. 

Fig. 1. A branch of the exocarpos cuprefli- 

Fig. 2. Portion of a branch in flower. 

Fig. o. Gcrmcn, with its ftyle and ftigma. 

Fig. 4. Fruit. 

Fig. 5. The fruit divided longitudinally, fliew- 
ing a cavity in the middle of the flefhy peduncle. 

Fig. 0. The nut. 

Fig. 7. Part of the woody fubfbance furround- 
ing the nut. 

Towards the clofe of the evening we arrived at 
the banks of a rivulet, where we fixed our place 
of abode for the night. I obfcrved at this fouthern 

N 4 extremity 

200 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

extremity of New Holland feveral fpecies of anci- 
Jlrum, analogous to thofe found at the fouthern- 
moft extremity of America. 

We were furrounded with pleafant groves, con- 
fifting for the greater part of a beautiful fpecies 
of thejium with ftrait leaves. 

The cold had obliged us to kindle a large fire. 
Some of us wxre fcarcely beginning to fall afleep, 
when we fuddenly heard the cry of a beaft of prey 
at a fev/ paces diftance. Our fire had probably 
been of greater fervice to us, in preventing this 
animal, which from the found of its voice we 
believed to be a leopard, from approaching nearer, 
than we fliould have expedied when we kindled 

1 had found, on one of the preceding days, the 
upper jaw^-bone of a large animal of the carnivo-' 
rous tribe. 

loth. As fpon as the day appeared, we con- 
tinued our journey on the borders of the lakco 
At a very iiTiall diftance from the coaft we ob- 
fervcd five iflands covered with trees, which form- 
ed an agreeable contraft with the level furface ot 
this vaft flieet of water. 

We perceived, for the firft time in this coun- 
try, feveral quails that flew at a great diftance 
from us. 

After marching for feveral hours towards the 


May.] of la perouse, aoi 

north -eaft, we found upon a fmall hill, under the 
fhade of fome very tall trees, two huts of the 
fame conftrudilon with thofe we had feen before. 
They were in perfectly good prefervation, and 
feemed to have been lately inhabited. 

I difcovered a very beautiful plant, which forms 
a new genus very diftind: from any that has hi- 
therto been defcribed. It refembles the iris, but 
has only two ftamina. On account of this fmgu- 
larity, i gave it the name of dipJarenna, and oa 
ac ount of its affinity with the genus 7noma, I 
called it diplarenna moraa. 

The fpatha has two partitions, and inclofes 
ieveral flowers, which leave it one after the other 
when they are ready to blow. They fade much 
fooner than thofe of the iris and moraa, fo that I 
fliould have given up all hopes of having them 
copied, if new ones had not followed the others 
which withered almoft immediately after I had 
plucked the plant from the ground. 

Like the iris, it has no calix. 

The corolla has fix petals, three of which are 
interior, and much fmaller than the exterior : of 
the three interior petals, the fiiperior is rather 
fmaller than the reft, and more inflated towards 
the bafe. 

Upon examining a great number of the flowers, 
I have uniformly found that they contain only 


202 , VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

two ftamina, the filaments of which terminate in 
a point fupporting antherae of a white colour, 
and marked with two fifTures. In the place of a 
third ftamen, I have only found a fmall filament, 
without any anther^e, fituated between the fupe- 
rior interior petal. 

The ovarium is inferior. It has three angles, 
and is fupported by a long peduncle. 

The flyle is a little longer than the flamina, 
cylindrical, and terminated by a fligma fhaped 
like a fhepherd's crook. 

The capfule has three partitions, containing 
leveral fpherical feeds, which are fixed to a re- 
ceptacle that extends from the middle of the parr 
titions to the top. 

This genus, which naturally ranks after the iris 
and the moraa, has all the habitudes of thofe 
plants. Its leaves are of the fame fword-like form, 
with their edges comprefTed near the bafe. 

Explanation of the Figures in Plate XV., 

Fig. 1 . The plant. 

Fig. 2. The flower-.buds difplayed by cutting 
away the fpatha. A full-blown flower with the 
three exterior petals torn off. 

Fig. 3. An exterior petal feen from its inner 



May.] of la perouse. 203 

Fig. 4. The fame petal feen from its outer 

F/g. 5. Interior petals turned down, to give a 
view of the ftamina and ftyle. 

F/g. 6. The It amen feen through a magnifying 

Fig. 7. The ftyle with its ftigma. 

Fig. S. A part of the germcn, the ftamen and 
ftyle having been taken away, in order to fhew 
the fmall filament, which is found in the place of 
a third ftamen. 

Fig. Q. Lower half of the capfule divided tranf- 
verfely, to fhew the three partitions. 

Fig. 10. Upper half of the capfule divided lon- 
gitudinally, to iliew the feeds. 

As we were walking through a fmall grove, 
v^here the underwood grew very thick, I roufed 
a. large kangarou at a very fmall diftance from me. 
He immediately ran a length of about thirty paces 
through one of thofe narrow paths which thefe 
animals make for thcmfelves through the thicket, 
where they are obliged to ufe ail their four feet, 
as they have no room for an ere(5l pofture ; and 
having reached the farther end, bounded away 
over the bullies with fuch fwdftnefs, that we loon 
loft fight of him. 

We found a fheet of water covered with a pro- 
digious number of wild ducks, which flew up 


204 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l/92, 

when we were quite clofe to them ; but we were 
fo little prepared for flich good fortune, that we 
were not able to kill a fingle bird. 

A high wind Iprung up towards night, which 
feemed to threaten rain. As we had no place of 
Ihelter near us, we were obliged to fleep in the 
open air. We conftrud:ed a fence againft the 
wind with branches, under flielter of which it was 
eafy to kindle a large fire. 

11th. On the following day we diredled our 
courfe eaftvvard, and traverfed a vaft plain, befet 
in many places with marfhes, where the plants 
with which they are overgrown conceal the dan- 
ger one is expofed to in paffing through them. 
The water collected in the loweffc fituations gives 
rife to a number of very fine rivulets. 

A very large kangarou fprang out of a bufli 
about four paces from me. I pointed my gun at 
jhim, but it mified fire, and the animal walked 
off very compofedly, following one of thofe tracks 
through the thicket which they ufually frequent. 
Thefe tracks are covered pafiagcs which crofs 
each other in every dire(5tion, and run very clofe 
one to another. The numerous prints of the feet 
of thofe quadrupeds obfervable upon them, fhew 
that they abound in this country. The beft 
way of catching them would be to hunt them 
with dogs, as they generally keep themfelves in 



May.] of la perouse. 20 

the thickeft part of the woods. Their tracks ge- 
nerally terminate at fome rivulet. 

Having exhaufted our flock of provifions, we 
were compelled to endeavour to reach the fhips 
before night. We wandered about the woods a 
long time before we arrived at the north- eafl ex- 
tremity of the' harbour, from whence we had a 
diftant view of our veffels. It was not w ithout 
great difficulty that we reached the^ place where 
they rode at anchor, as we had to pafs through 
many very rugged grounds. 

]2th. The whole day was hardly fufficlent for 
me to prepare and defcribe what I had colleded 
on our lail excurfion. 

Having left fome of my fpecimens which could 
not be preferved without being daily attended to, 
in the care of one of the fervants, who remained 
on board during my abfence ; I had the fatisfac- 
tion to find them in good condition. 

Citizen Riche found fome human bones 
amongft the afhes of a fire pade by the natives. 
Several bones of the pelvis he difcovered by their 
form to have been part of the fkeleton of a young 
woman : fome of them were flill covered with 
pieces of broiled flefli. I am, however, fcrupu- 
lous of ranking the natives of this country with 
the cannibals : I rather fuppofe that they have 
the cuftom of burning the bodies of their dead ; 


2d6 votAGE m sEARan [1702. 

as thefc were the only human bones that were 
feen during the whole 6f our abode in this place. 

On the 13th I went to the place v/here our 
men were taking in their water. It was furniih- 
cd by a fmall rivulet, which difeharges itfelf 
into the harbour, after flowing amongft the trunks 
of fallen trees with which the country is covered. 
The rotten wood gives the water of this rivulet a 
brownifli tinge. They were obliged to roll the 
cafks upwards of a hundred yards to the boats, 
as thefe could not come nearer to the Ihorc on 
account of the fhallownefs of the bottom. 

We found the carpenters employed in raifnig 
the fides of our pninace, which had fhortly before 
been overfct whilfi: it was failing in the harbour. 
The crew had been obliged to fave themfelves by 
fwimming till affiftance was "brought them. It 
had been furnifhed with too high a maft, and 
much too large a fail, by the lieutenant, who 
ought to have underftood the proportions better. 

The wood made ufe of by the carpenters was 
that of the new fpecies of the eucalyptus, which 
I have denominated encalyptus globulus. They 
thought it very good timber for fhip-building. 

A perpetual moifture prevailed in the thick 
forefts into which I penetrated towards S. W. 
Moffes and ferns of various kinds grew there with 
great luxuriance. I killed a bird of that fpecies 


May.] of la perouse* 207 

of the merops, which White has denominated the 
wattled bee- eater, and of which he has given, a 
very good engraving. It is remarkable for its two 
large excrefcences on each fide of its head. 

I was obliged to make great hafte in preparing 
the llcins of the birds which I wifhed to preferve ; 
for the flefh, when expofed to the air, very foon 
became full of fmall living larvae, depofited in it 
by a fly of a reddifli brown colour, which is vivi- 
parous like that of our country, known by the 
name of rimjca caniaria. Thefe larvae accelerate 
the putrefad;ion of flefli in a furprifnig manner. 

As we intended to weigh anchor on the fol- 
lowing day, I w4fhed to make the beft ufe of the 
laft moments of our ftay in this place, and went 
on fhore at the eaiterly coaft neareft to our veflels. 

I vifited, in company with the gardener, the fpot 
where he had fown different kinds of European 
grains. It-was a plot of ground of twenty- feven 
feet by twenty-one, divided into four beds. The 
foil was rather too full of clay to infure the fuccefs 
of the feed. 

When we had entered the woods, a quadruped 
of the fize of a large dog fprang from a bufh quite 
near to one of our company. This animal, 
which was of a white colour fpotted with black, 
had the appearance of a beaft of prey. There can 
be little doubt that thefc countries will at fomc 


^os voTAOE In searck [1792. 

future time add feveral new fpecies to the claffes 
of zoology. A fpinal vertebra, that was found in 
the interior part of the country, the body of which 
was about four inches in diameter, gives reafon to 
believe that very large quadrupeds will fome time 
be difcovered here. 

A very heavy rain, which overtook us about 
the middle of the day, obliged us to halt. We 
Iheltered ourfelves in the hollow trunk of a laree 
tree that was upwards of twenty-four feet in 
circumference. We attempted to kindle a fire 
in it after the manner of the New Hollanders, 
but the fmoke foon drove us from our retreat. 

We endeavoured to penetrate into parts which 
we had not yet vifited. A glade, at which we 
arrived, feemed to condu6t us towards the north- 
eaft plain. We had only three hours of the day 
before us. A fteep afcent impeded our journey, 
large trees heaped one upon another obftru<5led 
the path^ and the flirubs, to which the moifture 
that prevails in thefe forefts, give an uncommonly 
luxuriant growth, increafed the difficulties we 
had to encounter. Amongft thefe fhrubs was a 
beautiful' fpecies of polypodium, the ffcem of 
which grov/s to the height of twelve feet.* 

* The reader will eafily cxcufe me for not enumerating 
by name all the curiofities of natural hiflory, which I col- 
lefted during this expedition j efpecially as I intended to 
do it in a feparate work- 

May.] of la PERouSEi ^og 

Towards clofe of evening we found ourfehes 
on the borders of the leffer lake. The woods 
that furrounded it did not permit us to follow it 
dry-fhod in all its windings : the water through 
which we had to wade w^as> fortunately, not very 
deep. Notwithftanding the darknefs of the night, 
J difcovered a new fpecies of rejlk, which I had 
never feen before. 

This lake, though it is connesfled with the fea 
at high water, does not abound with filli. Some 
of the crew of the Efperance hxid been here, with 
their nets, but caught nothing; 

Having reached the fea-iliore> we had ftill a 
■ confidcrable part of our march before us. It was 
night, and .the thick "clouds increafed its obfcu- 
rity. Sometimes we were obliged to pafs over 
large blocks of rounded ftones wailied by the furge. 
We groped our way along the fliore, at the hazard 
of falling into the fea, and it was with great dif- 
ficulty that we were able to fupport ourfelves on 
our feet amongfl the wet ftones, that were ren- 
dered ftill more illppery by being covered with 
fucus and other marine Droduclions. 

A great number of phofphoric animalcules, ot 
different fizes, were driven on lliore by the waves.* 
and afforded us the only light we had to direct 
Our fteps. 

At length we arrived at the place where the 

VoL.L ' O tents 


tents had been pitched for taking agronomical 
obfcrvations. We found nobody there, as the 
inftruments had already been carried on board. 

Our raafter fail-maker having gone the pre- 
ceding day on a fhooting excurfion, without any 
companion, had loft his way in the woods, where 
he was obliged to fpend the night. Several guns 
were fired to let him know where the fhips lay at 
anchor ; and in the afternoon he returned on 
board emaciated with hunger and fatigue. Hav- 
ing fet out without any provifions, he had been 
a day and an half without food. He related, that 
during the night feveral quadrupeds had come to 
fmell at him, within a few inches diftance. Many 
of the cttw believed him on his word ; but we, 
who had fpent feveral nights in the w^oods, and 
had never met with fuch familiarity from the 
beafts, were not fo credulous ; but far from ima- 
gining that he wiflied to im.pofe upon us, wt 
found, in his narrative, the natural effects pro- 
duced upon the imagination of a man deprived 
of nourltliment, and all alone in the midft of im- 
menfe and pathlefs forcfts. ' ■ 

I5th. On the preceding day the large anchor 
had been drawn up and a fmaller one moored, 
that we might be able the fooncr to leave the 
harbour. The fame had been done by the Ef- 
perance. Some fudden blafts from the north-eaft, 


May.] of la perou3E. l?ll 

during the night, drove both fhips from their an- 
chors and ran them aground in the mud. They^ 
however, fufFcred no damage, and were eafily iet 
again afloat. It was furprifmg that they fliould 
have thought themfelves fecure with one fmall an- 
chor, but jull moored in a muddy bottom, as this 
fort of bottom affords very httle hold till the an- 
chor be funk to a coniiderable depth. 

We only waited for a favourable wind to leave 
the harbour. During the whole day it was con- 
trary, and in the night time it blew with great 
violence. Dauribeau, however, although w^e had' 
ran aground only the night before, thought it fuf- 
ficient to moor a fuigle cablet ; but his opinion 
was over- ruled by the reft of the officers, wdio 
knew, from experience, the neceffity of holding 
by the large anchor; 

During our abode at the Cape of Van Diemen 
we had only fccn the natives at at a confiderable 
diftance ; thofe who had obferved us having al- 
w^ays fled with great precipitation. Some of them 
left behind them their houfehold utenfds, which 
gave us a very imperfe6l fpecimen of their induflryi 
Thefc were bafliets, clumfily conftrud:ed of the 
reeds known by the name o-( jitncus acutus, and 
drinking vefTeis, made of a large piece o( fucus 
palmatns, cut into a circular form, and moulded 
into the fliape of a purfe. We never found any 

~ O 2 wTapcns 

212 VOYAGE IN SEARCH , [l792, 

weapons of defence in the places from whence 
they had fled : no doubt, they either carried them 
away, or carefully concealed them, for fear that 
we might employ them agalnfl themfelves. 

Thefe fcattered huts indicated a very fcanty 
population ; and the heaps of Iheils which we 
found near the fea-lliore, fhewed that thefe favages 
derive their principal means of fubfiftence from 
the fhell-fifli which they find there. 

As we only once difcovered human bones in 
this country, and thofe partly burnt, it appears 
that they do not expofe the bodies of their dead 
to the open air. It is difficult to know whether 
it be their ufual cuftom to burn them : poffibly 
they bury them in the earth, or throw them into 
the fca. 

The great number of tracks marked with prints 
of the feet of quadrupeds, ihew that they abound 
in this country. They probably remain during 
the day-time in the thickeft part of thefe inac- 
ceffible forefts. 

A great number of fmall rivulets difcharge 
themfelves into the harbour. The ground was 
here fo full of moifture, that wherever a hole was 
dug of a moderate depth, it immediately became 
filled with water. 

We generally took copious draughts offiflies 


May.] of la perouse. 213 

with our nets; eipecially when the eaft and fouth- 
eaft winds drove them into the bay. 

Van Diemen's land was difcovered by Tafman 
in the month of November, lC42. When Cap- 
tain Cook anchored here four years after Fur- 
neaux, in the year 1777> ^^ thought himfeU* the 
third European navigator who had been upon 
this coaft. Cook did not know at that time that 
Captain Marion, after having remained here for 
fome time, failed from thence on the 10th of 
March, 1772. The natives condu(5led themfeives 
in a very different manner to thefe two naviga- 
tors. Poffibly the gentlenefs with which they be- 
haved to Captain Cook, might be an effcd: of their 
terror for European fire-arms, of which they had 
received an idea from Marion's having; been under 
the neceffity of ufmg>them againll: them. 

The place of our obfervatory, fituated near the 
entrance of the harbour to the right of the vefTels, 
was 43° 32' 24^' S. lat. 144° 4(3' E. lonjr. 

The variation of the magnetic needle was 7'^ 
St/ 32^' E. 

The inclination of a flat needle was 70" 30^ 

The tides flow^ed only once a day. Thp time 
of high water in the harbour at full and change 
days, was betw^een nine and twelve o'clock, the ' 
water rifmg about fix feet perpendicular height. 
The tides were very much^nfluenced by the winds, 
O 3 which 

214 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

vi^hich often advanced or retarded them by fe- 
yeral hours. 

The flieltered iituation of this harbour renders 
it the moft commodious in the world for veiTels 
to put into in order to be repaired. The vaft 
forefts, with which it is furrounded, furnifli a 
timber which our carpenters confidered as very 
proper for fhip building, and which they employed 
with great advantage. 

During our ftay of nearly a month at this place, 
the weather was very unfavourable for making 
aftronomical obfervations. The feafon of the 
year was likewife not an eligible one for invefiii- 
g-atina: thefe coafts, which was rendered Hill more 
difficult by the violence of the winds. 

Whilfh we remained at the Cape of Van Die- 
men, the north-weft and fouth-weft winds were 
very violent : the former were generally attended 
with llorms and heavy rains. 

As foon as it was day the vcfTels were towed 
to the mouth of the harbour, from whence w6 
failed with a north breeze towards the new ftrait, 
which we intended to enter. 

After ranging along the windings of the reef, 
which Ave had left on our larboard fide when we 
entered Tempefl-bay, we were at ten o'clock in 
the forenoon at thediftance of about 7,600 toifes 
from the entrance of the ftrait, which bore 

N. N.W. 

May.] of la perouse. 215 

N. N. W. when we trimmed our fails as (liarp 
as poffible. 

The fummits of the higheft mountains were 
already whitened with the fnow. Thefe moun- 
tains form part of a chain which extends from 
fouth-eaft to north-weft, and terminates near the 
fartheft extremity of the harbour. 

We were much gratified in viewing, from the 
fliip, the places which we had lately vifited in our 

At one time we obferved a thick fmoke af- 
cending from the diftant country to the north- 
ward of the great lake, and foon defcried five of 
the natives walking away from a fire w hich they 
had juft been kindling on the fhore: one of them 
carried a fire-brand in his hand with w^hich he 
lighted the flames in different places, where the 
fire prefently caught and was almoft as foon ex- 

We plied to windward, keeping in with the 
coaft ; as we had no danger to apprehend from 
approaching it. 

A flight breeze from the north, as well as the 
tide, being againft us, we could not enter the 
ftrait before night. We therefore caft anchor at 
the mouth of it, in a bottom of grey fand, at the 
depth of 30 fathoms. The place where we had 

O 4 pitched 


pitched our tents of obfervation was then at the 
diftance of about 10,000 toifes to the weftward. 
' The mercury in the barometer having been 
gradually fahing for the fpace of four and twenty 
hours, remained ftationary at 2/1 inches, though 
the fky appeared ftill very clear. We were not 
without feme uneafmefs, as fo great a variation 
in the barometer had never failed during our ftay 
in the harbour to be followed by violent winds. 
Probably fuch blew at a diftance, but we expe- 
rienced none of their effects. During the night 
we .faw a fire to the weft, kindled by the natives. 

1 /th. The current having become favourable 
about nine in the morning, we weighed anchor 
with a northerly breeze, and plied to the v^ind- 

We were near enough to the coaft to be able 
to perceive at the entrance of the ftrait a fort oi 
free-ftone, fimilar to that found in port Dentre- 

The fnows had increafed prodigioufly upon the 
fufnmits of the high mountains, during the pre- 
ceding night. 

The mercury in the barometer had funk to 27 
inches 4 4-loth lines, though the breeze from 
the north ftill continued flight. 

It was nig] it when we entered the ftrait to 


May.] of la perouse 217 

which we gave the name of our Commander, 
Dentrecall:eaux. About feven o'clock in the even- 
ing we caft anchor in a bottom of blackifli mud 
mixed with ihells, at the depth of 22| fathoms. 

We were in lat. 43° 20' S. ; long. 145" lo' E. 

The Efperance was apprifed of our having cafl 
anchor by a fignal from the main-maft, and did 
the fame at the diftance of about 1,000 toifes 
from us. 

The flighteil; agitation produced a great degree 
of phoiphorefccnce in the fea, during the whole 

Very violent fqualls, accompanied with rain, 
obliged us to pay out our cable, and unbend our 
top-galiant gear. 

18th. The darknefs of the fky kept us impa- 
tiently awaiting the moment when we could en-^ 
joy the beautiful profpcifl of the immenfe bay 
which forms the entrance of Strait Dentrecaf- 
teaux. At length the horizon cleared up. Where- 
ever the eye could reach the coaft was indented 
with fpacious bights in the land, where naviga- 
tors, driven by llrefs of weather, might fly for 
flielter with fecurity. We furveyed with aflo- 
nilhment the immenfe extent of thefe harbours, 
which might eafily contain the combined fleet 
of all the maritime powers of Europe. The 
right foreland cf the ftrait bore S. 43° W. 


218 / VOYAGE UJ SEARCH [l7Q2. 

As the wind abated about 1 1 o'clock in the 
forenoon, we availed ourfelves of this opportunity 
to fit out the pinnace. The engineer was dif- 
patched in order to examine whether an opening 
{ccn N. 30° E. afforded a paffage for our veffels. 

The ebb-tide drifted us from eight in the even- 
ing till two in the morning at the rate of half a 
knot every hour to N. W. N. 

The fliffnefs of the breeze preventing us from 
fending any of our boats to the fhore, we were 
obliged to remain on board. 

igth. On the following day we were landed at 
the diftance of 2,500 toifes S, W. on an ifland 
which bounds this channel throughout its whole 
length. A boat belonging to the Efperance had 
paffed the night at the fame place, and taken a 
great quantity of fifh. 

It was a great gratification to me to traverfe 
this country, where I found a large number of 
new plants, the mofl numerous of which be- 
longed to the genus of melaleuca, afler, epacris, &c. 

The fhore of the channel afforded us a very 
eafy path through the bufhes which are here but 
thinly fcattered. We afterwards climbed up fome 
lleep afcents which rife to about 25 toifes per- 
pendicular height above the level of the fea. We 
here obferved a quantity of fca-falt depofited by 



the waves in the cavities of the hard fre^ftone 
which forms the bafxs of thefe hills. 

We had icarcelj proceeded a thoufand toifes, 
when the remains of a hut and heaps of fca-lheils 
Hiewed us that this iflaiid was inhabited. 

We faw here for the firll time the partridge 
of the Cape of Van Diemen. We fprung a very- 
large covey of them, which lighted at a great 
diftance from us, 

Late in the evening we met Citizen Riche, 
who had palTed the night with the fifliermen. 
We gladly accepted his offer to (hare the fruits of 
his fifliery with us, and he fhewed us a fmall 
fpring, where we had the pleafure of rcfrefliing 
ourfelves with excellent water over a meal of verj 
iine fifli and mufcles, which wc broiled upon the 
coals after the manner of the New Hollanders. 
After fuch a repail we had little occafion for the 
provifions we had brought with us from the fhip. 

We were inform.ed that the principal officers 
of the Recherche had agitated the qucftion 
among themfelves, whether the gentlemen en- 
gaged in refearchcs of natural hillory had any 
right to the freili provifions dlftributed on board, 
whilft they were employed upon fliorc in making 
the colledlions which the objcd; of their appoint- 
^nent required. Care was taken that none of 
their number fhould be admitted to thefe difcuf- 

fions ; 

220 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

iions ; and as they had no one to fupport their 
right, the queftion was foon decided agalnft 
them, contrary to every idea of juftice. I muft 
add, that though the pcrfons who had the charge 
of providing for our table were frequently chang- 
ed, they all adhered with the utmofl; pun<fluality 
to the di(5i:ates of this inequitable decree. 

It was already night when our boat came to 
fetch us. Riche was obliged to avail himfelf of 
the opportunity ; otherwife he would have been 
under the neceffity of remaining on fhore. He 
was, however, compelled to flay for the night on 
board of the Recherche, although it was of great 
confequence to him to return to the Efperance, 
as the preparation of the fpecimens w^hich he had 
colle6led, required to be immediately attended to. 

20th. A fmall ifland, fituated S. 42° W. about 
2,500 toifes from our anchoring ftation, had been 
denominated Partridge Ifland by fome of our crew 
who difcovered it. Citizen Riche and myfelf 
fpent the following day upon the ifland ; but in- 
ftead of partridges we found a great number of 
quails there. Whether thofe who had firft vifited 
it had taken the one fowl for the other, or whe- 
ther the partridges had fmce left the ifland, I muffc 
leave undecided. 

This fmall ifland is upwards of 100 toifes in 
length, and fituated in 43° 23' 30'' S. lat. The 


May.] of la perouse. 221 

new fpecies of parfley, which I had denominated 
apium proftratnm, grew in abundance upon the 
fhore, almoft as far as high water mark. We 
took a great quantity of it on board with us. 

Many fpecies of the cafiiarhia grew here, and. 
fecmed to thrive very well not with {landing the 
humidity of the foil. Amongft the plants which 
I faw for the firft time was a remarkable fpecies 
of the Imodorum, of which I had a drawing taken; 
I alfo colle(5led various kinds of ferns, and a beau- 
tiful fpecies of the glycine^ remarkable for its 
fcarlet flower. 

No frefh water is found upon this ifland ; 
though feveral forfaken huts fliewed that it had 
been frequented by the favagcs. 

Two of the officers of our veffel;, Cretin and 
Dauribeau, went about fix o'clock in the morn- 
ing to furvey the coafl to the eaftward of our 
ftation, where they found fjveral bays extending 
from N. W. to S. E. They obferved feveral 
creeks, which formed as many harbours ; but a 
ftrong contrary wind prevented them from exa- 
mining them farther into the land. Seeing fe- 
veral fires at a fmall diftance from the iliore, they 
determined to land ; when as foon as they had 
entered the woods, they found four lavages em- 
ployed in laying fuel upon three fmall fires, about 
which they were fitting. The favages immedi- 

222 * VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l702. 

ately fled, notwithftanding all the figns of amity 
which they made them, leaving their crabs and 
fhell-fiili broiling upon coals. Near this place 
they faw other fires and huts. 

It appears that this fpot is much frequented, 
as fourteen fire-places were difcovered. 

One of thefe favagcs, who was very tall and 
mufcular, having left behind him a fmall bafket 
filled wnth pieces of flint, was bold enough to 
come quite near to Cretin in order to fetch it, 
Mv'ith a look of afl'nrance with which his bodily 
ftrength feemed to infpire him. Some of the fa- 
"vages were ftark naked ; the refl had the fkin of 
a kangarou wrapped about their fhoulders. They 
were of a blackiili colour, with long beards and 
curled hair. 

The utenfils which they left behind them 
ccnfifled of about thirty bafkets made of rufhes^ 
fome of which w-ere filled with fliell-fiih and lob-^ 
fters, others with pieces of flint and fragments ' 
of the bark of a ^rce as foft as the befi: tinder. 
Thefe favages, undoubtedly, procure themfelves 
fire by flriking two pieces of flint together, in' 
which they differ from the other inhabitants of 
the South Sea illands, and even from thofe of the 
more eafterly part of New Holland ; whence there 
is ground to believe that they are dcfcended from 
a different origin. 


May.] of la perou^e* 223 

They likewife left behind them feveral kan- 
garou Ikins and drinking vcfTels. 

The officers forbade the failors to take away 
any of the utcnfils of the favagcs : they, however, 
fele(5led two bafkets, a kangarou fkin, and a 
drinking vellel of fucus, to carry to the Com- 
mander. The favages had no reafon to regret 
the lofs of thefe ntenfils, as they left, in place of 
them, feveral knives and handkerchiefs, with 
fome bifcuit, cheefc, and an earthen pot, perhaps 
too brittle, but certainly a very good fubftitute 
for that w^hich had cofb them fo little labour to 

The favages, though they took very few of 
their utenfils v/ith them, dropped fome of them 
from time to time on their flight. Whether they 
might do this in order to be able to run the 
faftcr, or whether it was with a defign to amufe 
the Europeans who followed them, I cannot tell. 

A boat belonging to the Efpcrance had been 
to examine a creek fituated to the eaftward, at 
the diftance of about 5,000 toifes. They had met 
with one of the natives, who, notwithftanding 
all the llgns of amity they made him, v/ould not 
let them come within tv/o hundred paces diftance 
of him. A fine rivulet difcharges iticlf into the 
fea near the fartheft extremity of the creek. The 
fituation of this creek, oppofite to an ifland which 


224 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1702, 

ftielters it from the furges, renders it an- excellent 
place of fhelter for veflels that ftand in need of 
any repairs. • 

The other creeks which they examined afforded 
in general very good anchorage.- 

They difcovered a bay that extended fo far to 
the north -eaft, that they could not get within 
view of its extremity. Poffibly fome of thefe 
bights in the land may be parts of channels which 
communicate with the fea on the oppofite fide. 

The preparation of the fpecimens which I had 
colle6led on the preceding days, employed my 
whole leifure on the 21 ft. 

The gardener wxnt with fix other perfons in 
the long boat, w ith the view of landing at the 
ifland which I had examined on the preceding 
day. After having in vain contended wdth vio- 
lent and contrary winds, they left the boat adrift, 
thinking it w^ould run into a creek under fhelter 
of a fmall ifland, fituated at the entrance of the 
channel Avhich they had before endeavoured to 
reach. But this ftep w^as very near proving their 
ruin : their fail fell into the fea, and the boat, be- 
ing fuddenly ftopped in its courfe, foon began 
to be filled w^ith water by the violence pf the 
furge. At length they arrived, overcome with 
fatigue, under the fhelter of the ifland, w^here the 
calm that prevailed afforded them a pleafing re- 


Mat.] of la perouse, 225 

fpite from their toils and dangers. The Com- 
mander, anxious about their fate, fcnt a boat in 
the afternoon in queft of them, as he knew that 
•vvhilft the wind remained {o unfavourable, the 
long boat could not return to the fhip without 
affiftance. Towards clofe of evening, we had 
the fatisfacfilion of feeing them return on board. 
They told us that having proceeded along the 
coaft in a S. S. E. dired:ion, thev found by fome 
fires that the favages were near ; that tliey had 
foon met with feveral of them, who w ere the 
fame that had been feen the day before, but that 
they did not fuifer them to approach them. Tliey 
found fome fliell-fifh broiling upon the fires which 
the favages had left with precipitation, and more 
than thirty kangarou fkins which they found at 
a little dillance, fhewed them to be very expert 
in hunting. 

It appeared that they had made ufe of the 
bread and water, wdiich had been left for them 
on the preceding day ; but the fmell of the cheefe 
had probably given them no inclination to tafte 
it, as it was found in the fame condition in wducli 
it had been depofited. They found at the fame 
place one of the knives and handkerchiefs that 
had been left among; the utenfds of the natives. 

Some fhots that were fired at birds, probably 
terrified thefe favages ; for when fome of our men 

Vol- L P went 

226' VOYAfJE IN SEA.ReH [l792. 

went to the fame place two days afterwards, they 
faw none of them. 

22d. The boats were fent to tate in water at a 
creek that had lately been difcovered to the eaft- 
ward. I availed myfelf of the opportunity to vifit 
this place, which was fituated at the diftance of 
about 5,000 toifes from our anchoring ftation. It 
forms a harbour, about 150 toifes in breadth and 
500 in length, with fufficient bottom for large 
vefTels to ride at anchor in it. A rivulet that dif- 
charges itfelf into it near its extremity, affords 
very good water, which, however, was not eafily 
taken in by the boats, fmce, in order to have it 
pcrfcdly pure, it was neceffary to roll the barrels 
from the diflance of more than 150 toifes over 
the muddy bottom. Our men might have been 
fpared this unhealthy labour, if pipes of leather 
or of fail-cloth, fmeared over with tar, had been 
/employed, by which the water might eafily have 
been conveyed into the boats. The advantages 
of fuch a pradtice will particularly be apparent in 
cafes where the imprad;icability of entering a 
rivulet with the boats obliges mariners to take in 
brackilh water; whereas, by means of a pipe car- 
. ried a few hundred yards higher up the ftream, 
they might procure it without any admixture ot 
fea-water, which renders it very unwholefome to 
- drink. 


May.] of la perouse. 22f 

The banks of this rivulet produced feveral new 
fpecies of cafiiarhia, one of which was remarkable 
for the club-like form of its fruit. I alfo obferved 
a pretty tall fhrub, which eftabliflies a new genus 
of the cruciferous tribe. 

The tracks of the kangarous were very nume- 
rous, terminating at the rivulet, where thefe ani- 
mals frequently come to drink. 

As the wind had been againft us when we failed 
for this watering place, we had a right to expedl 
that it w^oiild be favourable to our return ; but a 
calm fiipervened, and it lafted feveral hours before 
we reached the fhips. 

The pinnace returned after a voyage of four 
days, in which the whole extent of the ftrait had 
been fiirveyed. It is about 20>000 toifes in length 
from S. W. to N. E. They had every where 
found a depth of at leaft fix fathoms and an half, 
over a bottom of mud, and fometimes of fine fand* 
It is feparated from Adventure-bay by a narrow 
flip of land, not more than 200 toifes at its 
greateft breadth. 

We now waited only for a favourable wind to 
follow the ftrait, in order to take an exa(fl furvey 
of it. The N. and N. W. breezes were contrary, 
and, bcfides, fo (light, that we were obliged to 
remain the whole day at anchor. 

P 2 During 

228 VOYAGE I^ SEAHCM [l/Q^' 

During the night we law ft^veral fires of the 
natives to S. E. 

.24th. On the folio wijig morning we weighed 
anchor^ and plied to windward at the diftance of 
about 500 toifes from the land- We found every 
"where a depth of water of at leafl 6| fathoms, 
over a very good bottom. 

Though the tliermometer had never indicated 
more than 7° above the point of congelation, even 
in the coldeft mornings, the fnows had greatly in- 
creafed upon the high mountains feen W. N. W. 

V/hilft the currents continued favourable we 
gained ground at every tack ; -but about fix o'clock 
in the evening they became contrary ; and we 
caft anchor in a bottom of grey fand at the depth 
of eight fathoms, very near to the coaft, and to 
the northward of the ftation from whence we 
had failed in the morning. 

The natives kindled more than twenty fires' 
•apoii the coaft towards the fouth. Many families 
of them had probably come down to the coaft 
■upon hearing the news of our being in the bay. 

25th. About feven in the morning the current 
was favourable, and we made fevcral tacks in 
order to enter a narrower part of the channel, 
where we ranged very near to the weft coaft, fteer- 

ing N. E. N.- 




MaY-I fif LA PEaOUSE. 22Q- 

Having procce4ed about 2,50O toifes along this 
channel, we entered a fecond bay upwards of 
5,000 toifes in length, and bounded to the weft 
by pretty high grounds ; the eaftern coaft, which 
feparatcs this ftrait from Adventure-bay, was lefs 

About half an hipur after one in the afternoon, 
we caft anchor at the diilance of 500 toifes from 
the fhore ; Cape Canele bearing S, 33° E. 

I went on iliore to north-weft, where I found 
the woods very full of thickets, and extremely 
damp, though no rain had fallen tor feveral days. 
A new fpecies of ptelea grew in great abundance 
amongft the fhrubs with which this country was 

2(3th. We weisrhed anchor about Icven in the 
morning, and found ourfelves, at noon, in a third 
bay, where the great number of openings in the 
land left us for fome time doubtful what courfe 
we iliould ftecr, in order to get out of it, v/hich 
we a length accpmpliflicd, to north-weft, by the 
moft diftant of the openings. The depth of 
water 'in this bay was not lefs than eleven fathoms 
about the middle, and at leaft fix and a half at the 
diftance of a hundred toifes from the fliore. 

Having proceeded almolt 10,000 toifes to 
N. N. W. we anchored about half an hour after 
three in the afternoon, in a depth of fourteen fa- 

P 3 thoms 

230 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

thorns and a half, with a muddy bottom. As 
it was probable that, in cafe the wind fliould be- 
come favourable, we might proceed on our courfe 
before night ; none of us went on fhore. 

On the 27th, about eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing, we weighed anchor. The current foon fet 
againft us, and obliged us to caft anchor at the 
clepth of twelve fathoms and a half, in a bottom 
of fand mixed with mud. We were then in 43° 
4' S. lat. 145" ];' E. long. 

Ai: the diftance of two thoufand five hundred 
toifes to north-eaft, the farthefl end of the ftralt 
through which we were to pafs, was vifible, 

A fire at a fmall diflance from the fhore apprifed 
us of the natives being near. We foon after ob- 
ferved one of them walking along the iliore. 

Two boats were fent out to tranfport fome of 
our men to both fhorcs of the ftraits. They dif- 
covered a number of the fava2;es landins; from a 
raft on the eaft fhore. As timid as thofe we had 
feen before, they had haftened with all poffible 
fpced to the land, where they made their efcape 
into the woods, leaving behind them feveral darts 
pf a very clumfy confi:ru6lion. 

I went on ihore at the place where the f^ivages 
|iad difappeared, and found feveral pieces of very 
beautiful hard granite, rounded by the water. 

We found four rafts, made of the bark of trees, 


May.] of la perouse. 231 

on the beach. Thefe rafts are only fit for croffing 
the water when the fea is very tranquil ; other- 
wife they would foon be broken afunder by the 
force of the waves. As the favages poflefs the 
art of hollowing the trunks of trees by means of 
fire, they might employ the fame method to make 
themfelves canoes ; but the art of navigation has 
made as little progrefs amonglt them as the reft. 

Having arrived at the extremity of the ftrait, I 
found fome fine cryftals of feld-fpath in feveral 
rocks ot very hard fand ftone. 

On the tops of the hills I met with the plant 
defcribed by Phillips, in his account of his voyage 
to Botany-bay, under the name of the yellow 
gum-tree. As it was already in feed, I had no op- 
portunity of examining the characters requifite 
for determining its genus. To me it appears to 
belong to that of dracana. The grains were con- 
tained in long ears, filled with a valt number of 
larvae, which are afterwards metamorphofed into 
fmall phalenas of the moth kind. 

The gum-refin which flows from this plant is 
very aftringent, and might, no doubt, be ufed 
with advantage in medicine. The gummy prin- 
ciple with which it abounds, renders it more apt 
to mix with the fluids of the human body, and 
ought to give it a preference before many other 
aftringcnts that, are employed. 

P 4 Amongll 

332 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

Amongft a variety of other beautiful plants, I 
found a very remarkable one of the compofite 
tribe, which had never before been difcovered. It 
conditutes a new genus, w^iich I named richea, 
aicer Citizen Riche, one of the naturalifts to our 
expedition. This philofopher fell a vid:im to his 
love for fcience, having made, w^hen already in a 
very advanced flage of confumption, a long and 
fatiguing journey, in which he had more confulted 
liis fcientific zeal than the f3:ate of his health. 

This new genus naturally ranks in the third 
fe6tion of the cynarocephales. ( Jufs. gen. plant.) 

The common calix is compofed of feveral ob- 
tufe foliol*, fcarious at their extremities, of equal 
lenG:th, and difpofed in a fmgle row ; it indoles 
feveral diftin^ calices, each of which is fupported 
by a veryfiiort peduncle. Each of the fmall ca- 
lices is compofed of five or fix foliol^, and con- 
tains five or fix floriolse, all hermaphrodite, and 
provided w^ith fheaths of nearly the fame length 
with themfelves. 

The fioriol^ are Inflated at their fuperior extre- 
jnity, and divided into five equal divifions. 

Five diftind: filaments, attached to the infide 
of the corolla, fupport the fame number of an- 
thcrse, united in the form of a cylinder. 

The flyle is filiform, and of an equal height 
V^'ith the ilamina.- The ftigma is bipartite. 

^ The 

^fc/x'tr (/Arffcir 

-fiii-^/'jI.SforM.,/e. nc^.xdc/ir. IJ^.^/<r,r. ,,„„ 

May.] of la perouse. 233 

The feed is oval, covered with a light dov^^n, 
and has at the top twelve or fourteen hairy tufts. 

On account of the colour of the leaves of this 
plant 1 have called it r'tchea glauca. The flower 
is of a brimllone-yellow colour. 

Explanation of the Figures in Plate XVI. 

Fig. 1 . The plant. 

Fig. 2. The flower feen from behind, fo as to 
dlftinguiih the common calix. 

Ftg, 3. One of the fmall calices, with its flo- 

Fig. A. One of the floriola with its feed. 

Fig. 5. The fame feen through a magnifying 

Fig. 6. Floriola, divided longitudinally, to fliew 
the ftamina. 

Fig. /. The fame feen through a magnifying 

One of the officers of the Recherche, following 
a beaten path made by the favages through the 
w^oods, met fix of them walking flowiy towards 
the fouth, who wxre all flark-naked, and armed 
with javelins fixteen or eighteen feet in length. 
Their furprifc at fo unexpected a rencounter was 
vifible in their countenances ; but their number 
infpiring them with courage, they approached at 
the invitations of the European, and bound round 



their heads a handkerchief and neck-cloth which 
he offered them. They, however, appeared ter- 
rified at the fight of his hanger, which he fhewed 
them how to ufe ; nor were their fears quieted till 
he made them a prefent of it. He endeavoured 
in vain to perfuade them to come to the place 
where our Ihips lay at anchor : the favages walked 
away, following the fame path in a dired:ion op- 
pofite to that v^hich led to the fliore. 

Some of our men having landed on the other 
fide of the ftrait, came to a large fire, round 
which eight favages, each of whom had a kanga- 
rou Ikin wrapped round his fhoulders, fat warming 
themfelves under the fhelter of four fences againft 
the wind. They immediately ran away as foon 
as they iaw our people. 

An old woman v^^ho had the care of their pro- 
vifions, which ilie did not choofe to leave behind 
her,, was foon overtaken by fome of the failors. 
She accepted v^4th an air of fatisfa6lion, an hand- 
kerchief that was given her, but was fo terrified 
at the fight of a hanger, which they prefented to 
her, that fhe leapt down a precipice more than 
forty feet in height, and ran away amongfi; the 
rocks, where they foon loft fight of her, 

I do not know whether thofc who related this 
adventure in a different manner, wi/lied to make 
themfelves merry at the cxpencc of the reft, when 


May.] of la perouse. 235 

they aileited that the age of this woman was no 
fecurity lor her againft the attempts of fome of 
the failors : however, fhe was ftill young enough 
to make her efcape, leaving behind her two baf- 
kets, in which were found a lobller, fome mufcleSj 
and a few roots of a fern, which 1 recognifed to 
belong to a new fpecies oi pteris, of which I had 
before colledied a confiderable quantity. Pro* 
bably the favages chew thefe roots, in order to 
exprefs the nutritious juice, which always abounds 
more or lefs in plants of this fpecies. 

This woman, like the other favages, had the 
Itin of a kangarou wrapped about her flioulders : 
file had likewife another of thefe fkins bound 
round her waift in the form of an apron. I fup- 
pofe that file had provided herfelf with this piece 
of clothing, more on account of the inclemency 
of the feafon, than from a principle of modefty ; 
• for thqfe of the favage women who were feen at 
Adventure-bay by Captain Cook, at a diftance of 
not many hundred toifes from this place, were 
ftarl^ naked : and it is not probable that there 
fliould be much difference of manners between 
the natives of two countries fo near to each other. 

28th. A wind from the nortli blew in fuch 
violent fqualls during the night, that the Elpe- 
rance was fet adrift, though Hie held by a very 

large anchor. 



We had fpent more time in furveying the ftrait 
of Dentrecafteaux than we had intended. Before 
we could reach the main fea we had ftill a paiTage 
of 2,500 toifes to make through the channeL 
The wind was contrary, but the tide favourable ; 
fo that we got under way about half an hour after 
nine in the morning. We often came within 150 
toifes of the coaft, where the foundina;s rave us 

iD CI 

Our depth at 1 2 or 15 fathoms, in places v^here 
the coaft was high, and Oor Of fathoms near the 
low grounds. 

At length w^e reached the extremity of the 
ftrait. The two forelands are at the diftance of 
2,500 toifes from one another from S. E. to N. W. 
We ranged very near to that on our ilarboard 
fide, where we found the depth to be no more 
than 3 1 or 4 fathoms. Such a great diminution 
of water at the termination of the ftrait, led us to 
conje(5lure that the bottom confifled of a hard 
rock that refifled the daily adion of the tides, and 
the foundings verified our fuppofition. This was 
the only bad bottom which we found throughout 
the whole extent of the ftrait. We left it about 
noon ; when we difcovered an opening E. S. E. 
about 15,000 toifes in breadth, which affords a 
pafTage into the main fea. 

, To the northward we obferved a vafi: bay, or 
rather a gulph, intercepted with iflands, and con- 


May.] of la perouse. 23)^ 

necked with the main land, which we faw at a 
diftance. Several bights in the land that inclofe;s 
the gulph, feemed likely to afford good anchorage. 


Importance of the Strait of Dentrecajleaiix — Run 
front Cape D'lemen to New Caledojiia — Coajtlng 
the South Weji of New Caledonia — Dangcrotis 
Stiiiation of the RechercJie near the Reefs on that 
Ccafl — Lilt tie Cluffer of IJlands at the Northerft 
'Extremity of New Caledonia — View of the No- 
tlves — Prodigious 'Extent of the Reefs^—View of 
the Land of the Arfacides, and of the 'Treafury 
IJlands — Coajilng the Wejierji Part of the IJlands 
of Bougainville, and Bojika — Dangerous Sltua' 
tion of the Recherche, on the Shoals off the IJland 
of Bougainville — Interview with the Savages of 
Bouka Ifiand—^Tlieir Tajlefor Mufic Their 

Treachery — Their Canoes — Determi?iatlon of Je-^ 

veral Points of Bougainville and Bouka IJlands 

^ ^r— Anchor in Carteret Harlojir — Several ExcuV" 

Jions on the neighbouring Land — 'Inceffant Rain 

during our Stay at Carteret Harbour — Different 


Wfirhad now compleated a geographical dif- 
covery of great importance to navigation. 
It was a point of the greateft utility to know cx- 


23S VOYAGE IN SEAliCH [1792. 

a6lly the harbours in which fhips might find fhel- 
ter from the heavy gales and impetuous ftorms, 
which prevail at this extremity of New Holland. 
A road, which is not iefs than 22,000 toifes in 
extent, in that particular fituation, might pre- 
fent great advantages to a commercial nation^ 
Throughout the whole road, a fhip may caft an- 
chor with the certainty of finding a good bot- 
tom, the depth being from 6 to 25 fathoms, and 
no danger to be dreaded. At an equal diftance 
between its two extremities^ the bottom is of 
coarfe fand, and not fo good. There is alfo Iefs 
w^ater, as the depth there does not exceed fix fa- 
thoms. It fhould feem that the tide entering 
at once by both extremities had accumulated the 
fand, at the place where the oppofite currents 
meet. A fliip may, without danger, come within 
100 toifes of the land. The finuofities of the 
land prefent a varied profpecl, and fituations truly 

The feafon was advanced and the thermometer 
had not yet been lower than 7^ above 0, although 
we were near the 44th degree of S. lat. Impe- 
tuous winds reigned in the open fea, while in the 
flrait, wc enjoyed the greateft tranquillity. We 
did not* exped: to experience fo much fecurity 
near the Bay of Tempefts. 

Fillies which prefer tranquil w^aters, abound 
-% in 

May.] of la perouse. 230 

in this channel, and we were generally very for- 
tunate in catching them. 

Scarcely had we paiTed the ftrait, to the dif- 
tance of 1,500 toifes when we could no longer 
diftinguifh the opening. The depth increaled, as 
we advanced into the open fea. 

At noon, our latitude was 43*^ l' S. and our 
longitude 145° 1 9' E. 

We were not long in doubling Cape Pillar, 
and we immediately fteered a north-eall: courfc, 
in order that we might explore the fouth-weft 
coaft of New Caledonia, 

The mercury in the barometer funk into 27 
inches 8 lines, and we had a violent gale from 
the N. W. The motion of the fhip was to me 
as fickemng as at our departure from Breil. Dur- 
ing our ftay at Cape Diemen, I had completely 
forgotten my failing habits. 

On the 30th of May we had made great pro- 
grefs; for at noon, our latitude was 40° 55'' S- 
and our longitude 150° ~V E. 

The Mercury in the barometer had fallen to 
27 inches 4 lines, and had not deceived us in an- 
nouncing impetuous winds. We could only feud 
under our fore-fail, which at lall we were obliged 
to ftrike, but fortunately we had the wind a- 

Although the thermometer w as not lower than 


540 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 79^. 

9^ 2-lOths above 0, the cold was nevertheleis 
great. The violent agitation of the air appeared 
to me the principal caufe of the fenfation which 
we experienced. 

On the firft of June, having arrived in latitude 
37° 17' S. and longitude 154° 5' E., v/e faw a 
great number of fpeckled petrels fproceUarla ca^ 
pS'lfisJ and many albatrofies . remarkable for the 
red extremities of their wings. 

2d. The next day many flying fifhes, of the 
fame fpecies with thofe which we had fo often 
met with elfewhere, falling on board of us, an- 
nounced our arrival in parts of the fea frequented 
•by bonitoes. 

The motion of the fhip, iince our departure, 
had made me fo faint, that I found myfelf abfo- 
lutely incapable of taking the m.eafures neceflary 
for the prefervation of the objecfls which I had 
colieiled in my laft excurfions. 

3d. But this day the fea became more calm^ 
and allowed me to enter upon that bufniefs. My 
ipecimens had fuffered no damage ; only I found 
them ilightly covered with moifture. 

5th. Since our departure from New Holland, 
we had been reduced to Ihort allowance of water; 
at id the heat, which now began to be very fen- 
fibly felt, rendered that privation the more pain- 
ful. Vs'Q were allowed but a bottle in the day ; 


June.] of la perouse. '!24l 

although our want of it increafed as we approach- 
ed the Torrid Zone. For this beverage we could 
not fubftitute wine, which became daily worfe, 
and brandy, which many preferred to wine, ren- 
dered a greater quantity of water neceflary . Salted 
provifions increafed a thirft, which we had not 
the means of quenching, and the great quantity 
of fea-falt introduced into our fluids, had com- 
municated to them a great degree of acrimony. 
Thus the privation of frelh water is one of the 
principal caufes of the difeafes of feamen. 

Spotted petrels and many other birds which 
.we faw on thedth of June, in latitude 34° 47^S., 
and longitude' 15g° 21^ E., made us fuppofe that 
wc were approaching fome illand, flill t6o diftant 
to be feen. 

1 Ith. About the middle of this day, we thought 
we faw land at eaft. After Iteering in that di- 
rediion for an hour, the phantom difappeared, and 
we refumed our courfe.' 

15th. We fliot a 'man-of-war bird, which was 
hovering over the fliip. This bird had in its bill 
one of the fpecies of cuttle fiili csdledjepia loiigo. 
It had probably caught this moUufca, the inftant 
before it received the fatal ftroke. In the Medi- 
terranean, I have feen this fpecies of cuttle fifh 
raife itfelf many feet above the futface of the 

Vol. I. Q water. 

242 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

water, by means of membranous expanfions, fitu- 
ated laterally near its lower extremity : fome of 
them even dropped on board of us. 

lOth. About half an hour paft five in the morn- 
ing, we entered the Torrid Zone, in 05° of E. 

About eight we faw the Ifle of Pines, which is 
at a little diftance from the fouthern point of New 
Caledonia. It had the appearance of a peak of 
moderate elevation ; and we foon had a view of 
the low lands, with which it is every where fur- 
rounded. We diftinguiihed large trees, towards 
the fouth-eaft part of the ifland. Its pofition, 
which we determined, is in S. lat. 22° 42^, and 
E. long. l05° 14', which is but 4^ lefs in lat. and 
4^ more in long, than its pofition, as affigned by 
Captain Cook. 

About five in the evening, we had fight of New 
Caledonia in the N. W., diftant above twenty 
thoufand toifes, and we fleered towards it ; but 
about fun-fet, we were obliged to lay to for the 
Eiperance, which always failed much worfe than 
our Ihip. We then had a view of the coaft, from 
32° to the northward of weft, to 32° to the v\7eft- 
ward of north ; but vy^e were ftill too far diftant 
to fee the reefs, between that ifland and the Ifle 
of Pines. The Efperance joined us about eight 



at night. It was proper for us to make many 
tacks during the night, but it was fo calm that 
the fhip did not obey her helm. 

A fouth-weft wind brought us near New Cale* 
donia ; although we expeded to meet with the 
w-inds, which generally prevailed feveral days be- 
fore we made the land. 

The fmall change of variation which the com- 
pafs had undergone, during the tranfit which we 
had made, is very well worthy of remark. We 
may look upon it as nothing, from fouth latitude 
30° 30^ and eaft longitude IS-l'^, where the varia- 
tion was 11° 30' eaft, to fouth latitude 23°, and 
call longitude 10-4° 30^ where the variation was 
1 1° 4' ; for in this run of 13° 30' of latitude, and 
10° 30^ of longitude, the compafs did not vary 
a degree ; and it is well known that, at fea, the 
variation cannot be obferved nearer than within a 
degree of the truth. 

1 7 th. A fire kindled by the favages, on the I lie 
©f Pines, was feen during the night. 

At break of day, we obferved immenfe reefs 
on the coaft of New Caledonia, ftretching firft 
towards the fouth, and then towards the weft. 
The calm confined us, the whole morning, be- 
tween thofe dangerous rocks and the Ifle of Pines ; 
but in the afternoon, a flight breeze from the 
Q 2 • fouth- 


fouth-weft, enabled us to keep clear of the 

At noon, our latitude was 22° 4Q^ S., and our 
longitude 1(34° 40^ E. ; the fouthern point of New 
Caledonia then bearing ,N. N. E., diftant about 
20,000 toifes. This extremity of that ifland is in 
22° 30' S. lat. and lG4° 30^ E. longitude. 

18th. We had loft fight of the chain of reefs, 
but about eleven o'clock we perceived their 
fouthern extremity, at the diftance of about 
10,000 toifes N. W. i W. Their fmall diftance 
from our lliip at noon, when we obferved our la- 
titude, convinced us that they extended fome 
minutes farther to the fouthvvard than Captain 
Cook believed ; for v/e faw that they reached 23^^ 
ofS. lat., and l04° 31' of E. longitude. 
: Thofe reefs, to which we approached nearer 
than the diftance of l ,000 toifes, are nearly 20,000 
toifes from the coaft, aiid in that fpace keep the 
fea very tranquil : we were obliged to make fe- 
veral tacks in order to get out of it. 

igth. We made little way in the morning of 
this day ; for at noon, in 23° 3' 48" of S. lat., and 
l04° 8' 20'' of E. long, we were ftill in fight of 
the weftcrn extremity of the reefs, which bore 
N. W. i N. at the diftance of about lo,ooo toifes. 
We brought the Cape to bear N. W. i W. in 
order to double it, and to approach near the coaft. 


June.] of la perouse. 245 

We kept tacking, chiefly under our top-fails, 
during the whole night, endeavouring to keep 
company with our confort. It was neceiTary that 
we lliould be able, mutually, to communicate 
the dangers to which we might be expofed, on a 
coaft bordered with flielves and rocks, hitherto 
unexplored by navigators. 

20th. During the night, the currents brought 
us back to the reefs which w^e believed we had 
doubled. We ftood towards the land, when day- 
light fortunately fliow-ed us all the danger of our 
fituation. We were furrounded with reefs, and 
had but little room to beat about. The wind at 
fouth-fouth-eaft, freiliened and increafed the 
waves, which were carrying us towards the 
breakers ; and we were in the midft of the dan- 
ger, when the Efperance pointed it out to us by 
a fignal. Roflel then commanded on the quar- 
ter-deck. Immediately we trimmed up the fails 
on the ftarboard tack, in order to extricate her 
from this dangerous pbfition. The Efperance had 
fucceeded in this manoeuvre, and we had the 
pleafure to fee her clear of the danger, and {land- 
ing tow^ards the weft. 

Our bell was now rung to fummon all hands 
on. deck, in order more fure of fuccefs. 
Four times did Roftel fail in his manoeuvre, and 
every attempt did but bring us nearer to the dan 

Q 3 ger. 

246 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

ger. We were driving towards the reefs, where 
the waves, ready to ingulph us, rofe to a prodi- 
gious height. We could not caft anchor; for 
no bottom was to be found with fifty fathoms of 
line, although v/e were clofe to the rocks. Each 
of us was looking eagerly for the means of efcap- 
ing death, which feemed almoft inevitable. At 
laft the fhip touched, v/hen) by unexpected good 
fortune, the fifth attempt fiicceeded, and we had 
the unfpeakable fatisfad:ion of feeing the fliip re- 
move from the danger. 

Between the reefs and the land were fome little 
iflands, diilant above 5,000 toifcs from the coafti 

The land of New Caledonia, which was low 
towards its fouthern extremity, now began to 
rife into mountains of moderate elevation, in a 
fouth-eafi: and north-weft direction, inclining a 
little farther towards the north. 

When, at the approach of night, we were going 
about, the top-men had forgotten to change the 
booms of the main-yard, and the mizen top-fail 
yard ; and they were both broken, the m.oment 
we went upon the other tack. The firfl: fell 
over- board ; but the other, in its fall, wounded 
three people, among whom was the Commander 
of the expedition. 

2lft. We ftood out to fea, and there remained 
during the night, and in the morning w^e fteered 


June.] of la perouse. 24/ 

for the land. A wind at fouth-eaft carried us to 
the north -weft, at the diftance of leven hundred 
toifes, from the reefs, which deny all accefs to 
the fhore, whence they are diftant by about 2,500 
toifes. We expe(5led to find fome opening which 
w^ould allow, us to anchor under the Ihelter of 
this barrier, againft which the waves dalhed in a 
dreadful manner. 

A confiderable body of fmoke which rofe at 
the foot of the hill, at a little diftance from the 
ftiore, indicated the prefence of the natives. 

From noon, when we found the latitude 22° 
& 58" fouth, and the longitude l63° 34^ 36" eaft, 
we had proceeded nearly 10,000 toifes to the 
north- weft, when we obferved, between two reefs 
a large opening, which feemed likely to afford us 
an entrance to an anchoring place near the fhore. 
But unfortunately the day was too far gone, and 
the fea too much agitated, to allow us to fend a 
boat to found this entrance. We regretted much 
that we were precluded from enjoying the calm 
which prevailed behind this rampart, againft 
which the waves made unavailing efforts. 

Hills, almoft wholly denuded of vegetation, 
rofe like an amphitheatre towards the principal 
chain of mountains, which appeared to be, at leaft, 
nine hundred toifes in perpendicular height, and 
their diredlion ftill towards the north-weft. We 

Q 4 there 

248 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

there found three ranges of mountains of different 
degrees ol'ele^ ation, and we obferved hollows, ap- 
parently formed by the fall of the rains, and which 
were contuiued to the fumrnits of the moft arid 

Behind thofe high mountains, we faw perhaps 
20,000 toifes within the land, which towered 
above all die reft, and appeared to be, at leaft, 
1,200 toifes in perpendicular elevation. 

From the. middle of one of thofe ravines, or 
hollows, iffued a torrent which we diftinguiibed 
perfectly by the whitenefs of its foamnig waters ; 
althouofh we were very diftaht frorn it. 

The cold on thofe heights, undoabtedly render 
it neceifary for the natives to warm themfelves. 
We fav/ many large fires, which they had kindled, 
while we beat about the ofimg in the night. 

22d. On account of the faintnefs of the breeze, 
we could net make the reefs till noon, when we 
found ourfclves in 21'' 51' Ibuth lat. and lG3°8' 
eaft long. We fleered along the reefs till night, 
without finding the leail: opening. 

New Caledonia prefcnts a more charming ap- 
pearance than the old country of that name : 
for we ftiv^ feme trees growing in the bottoms of 
the ravines with which thofe hills are furrowed. 

A fire kindled on fliore, indicated that thofe 
arid tradis of land are not wholly, dellitute of in^ 


June.] qf la perouse. 249 

habitants. It was not long before we faw fome 
of them. 

The wind having varied from the north-eaft to 
the north and north-weft, w-e brought to, about 
ten at nig^ht. This was not, perhaps, the moft , 
prudent manoeuvre in our fituation ; for when 
danger is near, we fliould always be prepared to 
avoid it. It would certainly have been preferable 
to have kept tacking, in order that we might be 
able to manoeuvre conveniently, in cafe any 
troublefome incidents had occurred. 

23d. We were baffled by the winds all night, 
and at noon, were only in lat. 21° 37^ S., and 
long. l62M7''E: 

We faw fome mountains which were covered 
with trees to the fummits. 

The fires which we obferved near the iliore, in- 
dicated a great concourfe of favages. They were 
probably brought together by the appearance of 
our fliip, which was detained by contrary winds^ 
almoft in the fame place. 

About three o'clock, being about the diftance 
of 35,000 toifes from the land, we obferved, near 
the beach, a group of twelve Caledonians, whofe 
looks were direded to\vards us, andfwho feemed 
to be aftonlfhed at feeing our fliip, at fo fmall a 
diftance from their ifland. 


250 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

Three natives who formed another group, ftood 
very near two fires, which thej had kindled. 

By the help of a good fpy-glafs, we faw that 
they were entirely naked. They did not feem 
inclined to come off to us in their canoes. Be- 
fides, the reefs rendered it impoffible for them to 
reach our fliip. 

24th. A ftrong breeze at fouth-weft obliged 
us to tack ; and we found ourfelves almoft at the 
fame place as on the preceding day. The land 
was covered with a fog, which had always accom- 
panied fouth-weft winds. 

We found the lliip to be in 21° 46^ of fouth 
latitude, and l62° 46^ of call longitude, when we 
thought we faw between the re<:fs an opening 
which might afford us a pafTage ; but how could 
we afcertain that fa6l, when the wind was blow- 
ing fo flrong a gale ? 

25th. As foon as the wind fhifted to the fouth, 
the fog was entirely diffipated. The winds which 
brought the cold into thofe latitudes, forced the 
air, when the fun was withdrawn, to part with 
the redundant water, which it had held in folu- 
tion during the day. Hence fome large drops of 
very cold water then fell, at a great diflance from 
each other. 

For the two laft days, we had made no con- 


June.] of la perouse. 1>51 

fiderable advances, in exploring the coaft, where 
we had fecn many fires, kindled perhaps by the 
fame natives as on the preceding days. 

26th, 27th, 28th. We had alfo to ftruggle with 
contrary wdnds, during the two fucceeding days ; 
but, on the 28th, a frefli breeze at fouth-eaft, 
favoured our views in ftretching along the coaft. 
The high mountains, which we hc^vd hitherto 
fcen, wxre exchanged for fome of a much lower 
elevation, and at laft we thought we had reached 
vthe end of the chain ; but farther on, they re- 
fumed nearly the fame height, and we faw the 
northern extremity of the ifland, formed of lofty 
mountains, w^hich, at that diftance, did not ap- 
pear to differ from thofe which we had obfcrved 
on the preceding days. 

At noon, our latitude was 20° 28^ fouth, and 
our longitude l5l° 2q' eaft, and we were not 
backward in obferving, that near the extremity 
of the ifland, the chain of reefs w^as interrupted, 
and prefented a large opening, which feemed 
likely to afford us an anchoring place ; but the 
wind blew too flirong to allow us to put out a 
boat, in order to take the foundings in, this ope- 
ning. We lay to all night, in hopes that tlie 
weather would be more favourable the next day. 

In the diredlion of the land of New Caledonia, 



we obferved feveraliflands furrounded with reefs, 
and connedled together by fand banks and other 

29th. Daring the night, the wind had made 
us fall off fo much, that we loft fight of the 
northern extremity of New Caledonia, which .we 
found to he in 19" 58^ fouth latitude, and lOl"" 
10' eaft loi^itude. That ifland prefents a chain 
of mountains, extending about eighty nautical 
leagues, from the fouth-eaft to the north-weft. 
Its mean bre-adth is not more than feven or eight 
leagues. Captain Cook, who difcovered it in'. 
1772, only faw the north-eaft part of it. The 
examination of the fouth-weft coaft of the ifland 
was an important objed; in navigation. The 
reefs by which it is bordered, are generally from 
25 to 30,000 toifesdiftant from the land, and to- 
wards their extremities this diftance is greater, 
but they are not fo broad. That coaft, extremely 
dangerous at all times, is rendered ftill more fo by 
the fouth-weft winds, which were remarkably 
adverfe to us, in exploring it. 

The fmall number of fires which we obferved, 
and the apparent fterility of the land, gave me 
good reafon to believe that the ifland was but 
thinly inhabited. 

We did not fee a fmgle canoe, although they 


June.] of la perouse. 253 

might have been managed with facility, under 
the flicker of the reefs, whefe the fea is extremely 

About feven o'clock in the morning, we came 
in iiglit of many mountainous iflands and detached 
rocks, ftretchina; from N. N. E. to E. N. E. and 
which render this extremity of New Caledonia 
ftill more dangerous than the fouthern part. 
Some of thofe iflands are feveral hundred toifes 
in extent. The points of a great number of black 
rocks were elevated above the wafer. Thofb 
rocks, furrounded by water flightly agitated, feem- 
ed themfelves to be in motion, and, at firfl: fight, ^ 
we took them for canoes, floating on the furface. 
We foon difcovered that thofe little iflands were . 
numerous ; for they extended as far as we could 
fee from the mafl; head. They are encircled wdth 
reefs, amidfl: which the fea afliimes the colour of 
the reddifli fand v/hich compofes its bottom. 
We had a near view of them ; for, about eleven 
o'clock, we were but about 1,500 toifes to the 
fouthvvard of one of thofe little iflands, when 
we obferved reefs extending from its weflrern 
point, in the dired:ion of W. N. W. as far as the 
eye could reach. 

At the placejj.nwhere we found our latitude at 
noon to be 20"^ 0^ 4" fouth, our longitude being 

254 VOYAGE I^ SEARCH [l792. 

l5l° 10^ 36" eaft, we had on the eail 22° north, 
a little ifland, diflant 1,000 toifes. 

Another ifland bore from us north 80 degrees 
weft, at the diftance of about 8,000 toifes. Thofe 
two illands were conned^d together bj reefs. 

We faw other lands, bearing north 28"^ eaft. 

A fire, on the little ifland neareft us, not far 
from a rivulet defcending from a mountain, in- 
dicated that thofe little fpots of land were fre- 
quented by the natives. 

The ftrong gufts of wind which blew in the 

night, would have greatly embarrajGTed us in any 

other lituation ; but, under fheiter of the ifiands 

and reefs, it was eafy for us to beat about during 

the ni^ht. 

June 30. Some little iflands towards the eaft, 
feemed to terminate this little archipelago. Their 
elevation gradually diminiftied, in proportion to 
their diftance from New Caledonia. They feem- 
cd indeed to be only a continuation of thq moun- 
tains of that large ifland ; their bafes being co- 
vered by the fea, and their fummits riflng above 
it, and forming fo many little iflands. The gra- 
dual diminution of the height of thofe mountains, 
makes it reafonable to fuppofe that in thofe feas, 
Ihoals extending to a great diftance, contribute to 
augment the dangers of navigation. In the fe- 


June.] of la perouslE. 255 

quel, we fliall fee that this fuppofltion is by no 
means deftitute of foundation. 

We dire<5led our courfe to the north- weft, very 
near the reefs, which precluded our accefs to the 
little iflands. 

The Commander informed the captain of the 
Efperance, that in cafe of ieparation, the two 
Ihips fliould rendezvous at port Pralin or Carteret 

Our latitude at noon was 19° 28^ lo'' fouth, 
and our longitude lOo" 30' 12" eaft; the moft 
northerly of the little iflands bearing eaft, at the 
diftance of 8,000 toifes. 

We came in ilght ©fa chain of reefs, which ex- 
tended as far as the eye could reach, towards 
N. W. I N. in fome places forming bights, by 
taking a wefterly diredlion. With the wind at 
E. S. E. it was eafy for us to follow all the wind- 
ings of thofe reefs. In the afternoon, we ftecred 
parallel to them for nearly 20,000 toifes and 
then thought that we faw their extremity. We 
were already felicitating ourfelves with having 
terminated this dangerous and troublefome navi- 
gation, and entering into an open fea, when the 
watch announced fhoals and a fucceffion of reefs, 
in the diredion of N. N. W. It was now too late 
in the day to intangle ourfelves among them, and 
we worked to windward during the night. 

A booby 

25Q %'OYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

A booby, of the {pec'ies peleca?ms varlus, allowed 
itfelf to be caught about fun-fet. It differed from 
the ordinary Ipecies, by having a lighter colour. 
This bird came, without diftruft, and fat down 
on the round top, befide one of the failors. The 
fpecies is remarkable for being but little afraid of 
man : they will even frequently light on one's 
arm, when prefented to them. Their fenfe of 
fmelling muft not be very fubtile ; for their nof- 
trils confift of but two flight chinks in the upper 
mandible, which is moveable like that of the 

July lit. We now believed that we had com- 
pleated the furvey of this frightful chain of reefs, 
which obilrudls the fea for near 100 marine 
leagues from the S. E. to the N. W. ; and we 
wxre 10,000 toifes to the northward of them, 
about noon, when we found ourfelves in 18° 50' 
of fouth latitude, and l6o° 32^ of eaft longitude. 

We next fleered towards the N. N. E. in or- 
der to afcertain whether or not thofe reefs ex- 
tended to the north-eaft. 

One of the crew, called Moulin, about two 
o'clock in the afternoon, difcovered to the north- 
ward, at the diftance of 10,000 toifes, a httle 
•low ifland covered with very tufted trees, and bor- 
dered towards its weftern fide, with reefs, extend- 
ing towards W. N. W. This ifland, which is 


July.] of la perouse. 257 

not above 2,500 toifes in circumference, is fituated 
in" 18° 31'' 10^' of fouth latitude, and in lOo' 32' 
'J 4" of eaft longitude. 

Agreeable to the promife of the General, this 
ifland was called Moulin' s Illand, after the man 
who fifft obferved it. 

About four o'clock two other little iflands 
were defcried towards N.° W. I N. diftant about 
8,000 toifes. As it was impoflible for us to pafs 
thofe iflands before night, at five o'clock we di- 
rected our courfe to the S. S. E. and we kept the 
fhip's head that way till the morning. 

We were furroundcd during the night with 
flocks of birds, which inhabited thofe low iflands. 
Notwithftanding the darknefs, the man-of-war 
birds came and hovered over our lliip, and feveral 
boobies alighted upon our yards. ' 

2d. The Commander had intended to anchor 
under the Ihelter of Moulin's Ifland; but we 
found ourfejves carried above 5,000 toifes to lee- 
ward, and it would have been extremely difficult 
to work up to windward againft both wind and 
current. We therefore fleered N. N. E. and it 
was not long till we obferved, towards the north, 
breakers not far from the two little iflands, which 
we had obferved the preceding day. We fl:eered 
parallel to them, at the dillance of about l,ooo 

VpL^L R toifes 

. / 

258 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 79^'- 

toifes and in their direction, which was towards 
the north-weft. 

From the point where we obferved our latitude 
at noon, which was 18° ']' 40" fouth, our lon- 
gitude being l65° 32^ eaft, we faw the neareft 
reefs, at the diftance of near 10,000 toifes to the 
eaft ward. We continued to fteer along them, in 
the direaion of N. W. | N. 

About a quarter paft one o'clock, we difco- 
vered, at the diftance of nearly 8,000 toifes to- 
wards the eaft, a low^ and very woody ifland, which 
appeared to us to be at the leaft 8,000 toifes in 
circumference ; and it was ftirroundcd with rocks 
almoft level with the water. Having the wind 
againft us, we ftecred very near it : the breakers 
extended towards the north -eaft to the eftimated 
diftance of about 8,000 toifes, and in the midft 
of thofe reefs, we faw black pointed rocks, fmiilar 
to thofe which we had obferved before. 

This new illand is in latitude 1 S'' 3^ fouth, and 
in longitude l6o° 31' eaft. 

We fteered towards the north, and about four 
in the afternoon, we had the laft of thofe rocka 
to the eaftward of us, at the eftimated diftance of 
8,000 toifes. There thofe reefs feemed to termi- 
nate ; appearing to extend towards the eaft, and 
then towards the fouth. Their northern extre- 

July.] of la perouse. 25g 

mity is in 17° 5-1' of fouth latitude, and 1(30° 30^ 
of eaft longitude, and about ten leagues to the 
north of Mouiin's Iliand. 

It was eafy for us to perceive, by the force of 
the waves, that we were difengaged from the 

A great number of tropical birds, boobies and 
man-of-war birds, quitting their retreats in the 
different little iflands, came and played in airy 
c!ircles about the lliip, almoft the whole day. We 
faw the trunks of feveral cocoa-nut trees floating, 
which had been torn by the waves from the place 
of their growth. 

About fix in the evening, the lead indicated 
fifty-eight fathoms depth of water, with a bottom 
of fine fand, our latitude having then been 1 7° 5 1'' 
fouth, and oiu- longitude, i6g^ 18'' eaft. We re- 
mained an hour upon that bank, where we hove 
the lead feveral times, and had from fifty to fixty- 
fix fathoms in depth. 

Thus we completed the difcovery of a dread- 
ful chain of reefs, fo much the more dangerous 
towards the north, as they are wholly out of fight 
of land. Although they appeared to us inter- 
rupted, to the northward of New Caledonia, it is 
probable, notwithilandaig wliat we obferved, that 
they are re-united farther to the eaflward. 

Thofe reefs, are well known to be the work of 
R2 polypi; 


polypi ; and the danger attending them is the 
more to be dreaded, as they form fteep rocks co- 
vered by the water, and which can only be per- 
ceived at a fmall diftance. If a calm take place, 
and a fhip be carried towards them by the cur- 
rents, her lofs is almoil: inevitable. Vain would 
be the attempt to fave her by the anchor, for it 
would not reach the bottom, even clofe to thofc 
walls of coral, which rife perpendicularly from 
the depths of the fea. Thefe works of the poly- 
pus, which, by continually increafing, obftrud: 
more and more the bed of the ocean, may well 
be fuppofedi dreadful to navigators ; and many 
fhoals which now allow a velTel to pafs over 
tliem, will, at no very diftant period, be convert- 
ed into reefs extremely dangerous to fhips. 

The compafs experienced but little variation, 
while we were cruizing along this immenfe chain 
of rocks ; for at their fouthern extremity, it was 
obferved, to be 11" eafterly, and it was diminilhed 
only two degrees, when we had reached their 
northern extremity. 

3d, The next day we ftcered N. N. W. ; but 
we faw no more breakers. 

7 th. At half paft nine P. M. the moon being 
elevated about 15" above the eaftern part of the 
horizon, we obferved, in the weft, a lunar rain- 
bow. It differed in nothing from the folar rain- 

July.] of la perouse 261 

bow, except that its colours were not {o vivid. 
This phoenomenon is much lefs frequent than 
might naturally be expecfled. 

The allowance of water was very fmall, which 
was a prodigious hardfliip in latitudes fo near the 
Line ; and we had not the means of procuring 
more; although we were provided with Docftor 
PoifTonnier's apparatus for diftilling fea- water. 
This contrivance was of no ufe to us, as it re- 
quired much more fuel than we could fpare ; for 
when water is fcarce on board fhip, wood is never 

About ten o'clock A. M. we deicried the Ar- 
facides, which we made near Cape Nepean, 
Thofe lands, difcovered in 1 7O7, by Captain Sur- 
ville, in the fervice of the former French Eaft 
India Company, were fmce ieen by Shortland, 
who, thinking he had made a new difcovery, 
gave them the name of New Georgia. 

Our latitude at noon was 8*^ 62'' ibuth, and our 
longitude 154*^ 38^ eaft. The neareft land then 
bore E. J N. E. diftant ] 5,000 tolfes. 

Qth. At half paft four o'clock, we defcried the 
rock called Eddy-ftone, bearing north -weft, dif- 
tant about 8,000 toifes. At a diftance.. we took 
it, as Shortland did, for a veflel under fail. The 
deception was the greater, as the colour of it is 

R 3 nearly 

262 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792„ 


nsarly that of the fails of fnips; but fome flirubs 
adorned its upper part. 

The lands of the Arfacides oppofite to this 
rock, are fteep and covered with large trees to 
their fummits. 

Several fires kindled on the mountains, indi- 
cated the prefence of the favages. 

Our obfervations afcertained the Situation of 
Cape N.epean, to be 8" S. iat. and 154° 56^ 2 A" 
E. lonsf. 


The EddJ-^fl:one rock is in 8^ S. Iat. and 154^ 
h^ E. long, and confequently more to the eafl- 
ward of Cape^Nepean than Shortland alledges. 

We lay to from two o'clock in the morning 
till day-light. 

10th. Early in the morning, we faw the Trea- 
ftiry Iflands, bearing N. W. ? N. diftant 20,000 
toifes. They are fituated 20 leagues to the north- 
weft of the Eddy-ftone. 

About noon, we were diftant about 2,500 toifes 
from the weftern point of the largeft, and molt 
wefterly ifiand of that little group. It is in 7° 
25' 2>&' S. Iat. and 152^ 50^ 34'' E. longitude. ■ 

Thofe iflands are five or fix in number, and fo 
near together, that at a diftance, they appear to 
form but one ifiand, as was believed by General 
Bougainville, v/ho faw them to the weftward, 


July.] of la perouse. 263 

when pailing through the channel to which he 
gave his name. The Efperance only diftinguiflied 
three illands : we faw five dillindly, and, had 
we been nearer, we fhould probably have feen 
more. The mountains which form thofe illands, 
are of a moderate elevation, and almoft every 
where covered with large trees. The little group 
occupies a fpace about ten leagues in circuit ; 
the eaft and weft points being extended into 

After having failed round them, we fleered N. 
N. E. in order to view the eafl'ern part of the 
ifland of Bougainville. About five o'clock P. M. 
we were near its fouthern extremity, where we 
efpied a group of ten little iflands, the largefl 
of which extends from call: to wefl. Being co- 
vered with large fpreading trees, interfperfed with 
palms, thofe iflands prefented an enchanting prof- 
ped;. Very neaj their fouthern fide, we obferved 
among-them fome breakers, which rendered it 
dangerous to approach them. 

Tvk^o canoes, in which we diftinguiflied a num- 
ber of natives, were under fail, and feemed to 
fleer towards us ; but they pafTed behind the little 
ifland nearefl us, and their rapid motion foon car- 
ried them out of our fight. On the beach of 
the fame little ifland, we faw a company of ten 
natives, near a canoe, which lay upon the fand, 



and which they did not attempt to launch, in 
order to vifit us. As night approached, it was 
neceffary for us to go about, in order to get into 
the ofRng. 

11th. A violent rain drenched us during the 
night, and was fucceeded by a thick fog, which 
enveloped the land, and did not permit us to ap- 
proach it, till fome hours after fun- rife. 

Some reefs, level with the water, and extend- 
ing for fome hundred toifes, appeared about ele- 
ven o'clock, at the diftance of 15,000 toifes from 
the fhore, which they warned us not to approach. 

We faw the fummits of the high mountains 
of Bougainville ifland piercing the clouds. 

The land was again invefted with a fog, and 
we were obliged to wait till the 1 3th before we 
could purfue our examination of the coaft. 

13th. We enjoyed the beautiful profped: of the 
high mountains gently falling into extenfive plains, 
w^here however we obferved no trace of cultiva- 
tion. The whole fcene was covered with trees, 
even to the highcfh elevations, which appeared 
to be at leaft twelve hundred toifes in perpen- 
dicular height, and to be diltant above twenty 
thoufand toifes from the fhore. 

Fires upon the hills announced the prefence of 
the natives. 

About half-pafl: eleven o'clock, we thought 


July.] of la perouse. 265 

ourfelves in the greateft fecurity, when we found 
the fhip in fhoal water, which the watch had not 
perceived. It was fo fliallow, that w^e could 
eafily diftinguifh the fillies upon the rocks, fome 
points of which, higher than others, put us in 
dread of fhipwreck every inftant. 

We were then in 4| fathoms of water, and 
the boat, which immediately began to found dif- 
ferent parts of the fhoal, found only 3 fathoms at 
one of its extremities. The whole bottom was 

Thus we were involved in the moll; imminent 
dangers, being furrounded on all fides with llioals, 
which threatened us with the immediate deftruc- 
tion of the Ihip. 

Boats were difpatched, to found the water over 
the rocks, on each lide of us. The leaft depfh 
they difcovered was 3 fathoms ; fo that, a flight 
agitation of the fea in that place, might have made 
us touch the bottom, and lofc the fiiip. 

Thofe rocks, like the reefs of New Caledonia, 
are the work of polypi ; like thofe reefs they are 
built perpendicularly, and quite clofe to them, no 
bottom can be found with one hundred fathoms 
of line. They rife, like fo many columns, from 
the bottom of the fea, and their progreffive aug- 
mentation daily increafes the danger of navigat- 
ing thofe parts of the ocean. 


260 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792* 

At noon our lat. was 6° 1 3^ 1 1" S. and our lonp\ 
152'' 7' 5l" E. We brought to, and remained 
there till two o'clock-. 

Several trunks of trees floated alon2; On 
one of thofe which the boats brought, we obferved 
a very old notch, which fliewed that the inhabi- 
tants of the neighbouring ifland are in poiTeffion 
of inftruments which cut very clean. Perhaps 
they ftill retain fome of the axes, which General 
Bougainville gave them. 

We drove infenfibly tovv^ards a ilioal ; but we 
faw it in good time and avoided it. 

Though the watches were ordered to redouble 
their attention, we found ourfelves about half 
paft three upon another flioal, which it was ne- 
ceiTary for us to clear like the firft, at the rifk of 
feeing the velTel drive againfl the rocks. There 
was the fame depth of water as before. The 
furge was rendered very ftrong by this bank of 

Our pofition was the more dangerous, as night 
approached, and thofe ihoals being at fome dif- 
tance from the coall, gave us reafon to apprehend 
that we ihould meet with others ftill farther off. 
How were we to avoid them, during the darknefs 
of the night ? We muft truft to chance the fe- 
curity of our fhip. We brought to, till day 
light, the Ihip's head to the fouth-weft', and 


July.] of la perouse. 20/ 

we frequently founded without finding any bot- 

1 4th. The Efperance, about three o'clock in the 

morning, made fignais, which produced a lively 
fenfation on board of our fnip. We believed 
that they indicated fome danger ; but they vvcre 
merely intended to give us notice that fhe had^ 
foundings, in forty-two fathoms. We ftood off a 
little from the land, and at day-light fteered clofe 
along fliore. The chain of mountains then began 
to fubfide. 

Some little iflands, detached from Bougainville 
Ifland, were conned:ed together by reefs, on 
which we faw the waves beating. But thefe were 
not the only dangers on that coafc : funken rocks 
formed flioais, which followed the fame direction. 
Thofe coral banks were doubtlefs covered with 
fifh ; for we faw many fea-birds hovering over 
them in queft of their prey. 

A canoe, manned by fix natives, was behind 
the little iflands the neareft to our fhip ; but, as 
we were making great way, we very foon paiTed 

That part of Bougainville Ifland which was 
now in fi ht, feemed to be much more populous 
than what vv^e had hitherto fecn. The fine plan- 
tations of cocoa-nut trees which bordered the 


$&8^ VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

coaft, left us no room to doubt that the popula- 
tion was very confiderable. 

At noon, in latitude 5'' 43' 12" fouth, and 
longitude 15 2^3' 20'' eafl, we faw Bougainville 
Mand, forming, with the little adjoining iflands, 
a bay not lefs than 15,000 toifes in extent. The 
General intended to anchor there ; but flioals ob- 
ierved in different points of its entrance, and a 
land-bank near its farther extremity, made him 
change his refolution. 

Bougainville Ifland terminates in very low 
lands, and we foon had flg^ltof the narrow chan- 
nel which feparates it from Bouka Ifland. 

After ftanding off, we lay to all night. 

The heat of the day had accumulated the ma- 
terials of thunder above the high mountains. 
Frequent flaflies of lightning difcovered to us their 
fummits, and the thunder rattled with a tremenr 
dous noife. 

During the night the current had carried us 
more than twenty minutes towards the north. 
At fix in the morning we were 5,000 toifes to the 
northward of Bouka Ifland. The vaft planta- 
tions of cocoa-nut trees which adorned its fliores, 
indicated a numerous population. 

A canoe, with nine natives on board, put off, 
and fleered towards us. We immediately hove 


July.] of la perouse. 20g 

to in order to receive them ; but they {topped 
within three hundred toifes of the fliip, and 
fhowing us their ifland, made ligns to invite us 
on fliore. There were but fcven paddlcrs in the 
canoe ; two other natives Teemed wholly occupied 
in baling out the water, which beat over the fides 
of the canoe, and in obferving our movemcnts. 

A native put off alone from the beach, on a 
c^jtimarraii, and paddling with the greateft cele- 
rity, came and joined the canoe, which kept al- 
ways to the windward of us. Though a very 
old man, he appeared to be ftill very robuil. Af- 
ter having viewed us for fome minutes, he plied 
towards the ifland, as rapidly as he had come off. 
He appeared to be a mefi'enger difpatched by the 
inhabitants, to make his obfervations, and to re- 
port to them vvhat he had feen. 

The canoe left us, and proceeded towards the 
Efperance, another very large one having been 
akeady alongiide of her. 

We faw at fome diltance a fmall canoe, man- 
ned by five natives, who came a-ffern of our 
ihip,"and kept at the diftance of about 600 toifes, 
notwithftanding all our invitations to them to 
come on board. 

In hopes of alluring thofe favages, we let down 
into the water a plank, with fome knives and nails 
upon it, and a bit of fcarlet ftuff by way of a 


270 yOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92, 

flag, tied to a ffcick placed upright in its centre. 
They did not, however, leize upon thofe objects, 
till we cut the firing which kept it nearer to the 
Ihip than they chofe to venture. The fight of 
the bit of fluff dittufed among them the moft 
lively joy : they ihowed uS that they had accepted 
of our prefent, and earneftiy defired m.ore of the 
fame fort. 

At laft, by throwing them handkerchiefs, bits 
of red ftuff, and empty bottles, we fuccecded in 
bringing them alongfide. One of the bottles 
having taken in fom,e fea- water, the favage who 
took it up, thinking perhaps that we had fent 
him fomething good to drink, was difagreeably 
millaken on tailing the contrary, and Vv^e re- 
gretted that we had not given him timely notice 
of the circumftance. 

Thofe natives were acquainted with the me- 
thod of barter, and took much pains to ihew us 
the price of their goods. 

We received a very jSne bow and fome arrows, 
in exchange for a few handkerchiefs, which we 
let down to them by a rope. As they did not 
obferve that we poiTelfed this kind of weapon, 
they endeavoured to make us fenfible of its value, 
by (ho wing us its ufe. 

One of the gunners went for his fiddle, and 
played them fome tunes ; and we had the plea- 


July.] of la perous^. 271 

fure to fee that they were not hifenlible to mufic. 
They offered us a number of things in exchange 
for the inftrument, making figns for it, by imi~ 
tating the niotions of the fiddler upon a paddle- 
But they foon found that their folicitations were 
fruitlefs. Jt was the only fiddle by which the 
ihip's company danced ; and we had too long a 
voyage before us, to think of parting with the in- 
ftrument, which procured us an exercife fo falu- 
tary to feamen. 

We had fo loaded them with prefents, that 
they foon be2;an to make difnculties in givina: 
their commodities in exchange for ours, to pro- 
cure which they had recourfe to unfair arts. The 
Commander had agreed to give them fbme hand- 
kerchiefs ftriped with red, their favourite colour, 
for a bow, and trufling too much to their good 
faith, had delivered them the handkerchiefs : 
but inftead of the bow, they would only give 
fome arrows, which were refufed. 

Thofe natives feemed to, have a great pro- 
penfity to gaiety. They feemed to take pleafure 
in repeating the wordc which they heard us pro- 
nounce ; and the fweetnefs of their language en- 
abled them eafily to fucceed in the imitation. 

They were pafiionately fond of mufic, and 
particularly of the m.oH: brifk and noify tunes. 
One of the officers, who was a good performer, 


^/2 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792, 

played a very lively tune. They liilened with 
very great attention ; aflonifliment was vifible 
in their features ; they could not conceal the 
pleafure they felt ; but, by different motions of 
their arms, which kept exacl time with ^the mea- 
fure, and a great agitation of the whole body, 
they gave unequivocal proofs of their fenfibility. 

They did not lofe fight of the defire which 
the Commander had expreffed for a bow. One 
of them promifed him a bow in exchange for a 
hat ; but when he got poffeffion of the hat, he 
refufed to furrender the bow. 

Moft of the things which we gave them were 
tied to the end of a line, which they were not at 
the pains to loofe ; for they carried in their gir- 
dles, fhells which were fufficiently lliarp to cut 
it at once. 

As we had good reafbn to diftruft their pro- 
mifes, a man went down by a rope ladder a- 
flern, with a view to exchange a bit of red ftuff 
for a bow, when we perceived that the current 
had carried us to the north- weft, and that we 
were already too near the fhore. As a calm pre- 
vented us from fteering the Ihip, w^e were obliged 
to put out a boat in order to tow her off. The 
favages thinking, no doubt, that we intended to 
purfue them, in order to punilh them for their 
difhonefty, retreated precipitately towards the 


July.] of la perouse. 2^3 

iiland. Out of gratitude, perhaps, for the pa- 
tience with which we allowed them to cheat us, 
they committed no fuch ad: of treachery as Ge- 
neral Bougainville, in his voyage round the w^orld, 
had experienced at their hands. 

Four canoes were, all this while, dealing with 
the Efperance. One of them was manned by 
natives, of whom iixteen were paddlers, and the 
reft warriors. 

We learned from the people on board the 
Efperance, that this war- canoe had long kept at 
a diftance ; but ventured to come alongfide, on 
feeing the different articles w^hich their country- 
men in the little canoes had procured. 

The order with w^hich the favaees w^ere fta- 
tioned in the great canoe, indicated a kind of 
naval ta6lics. A warrior, armed with a bow and 
arrows, ftood between every two paddlers on each 
fide, and intermediate parties of two or three 
warriors ftood with their faces tow^ards the ftern 
of the canoe, in order to obferve the movements 
in that direction, and to fight while retreating. 
Thofe w^arriors fliowed no hoftile difpofition ; 
they feemed very fond of the wine and brandy 
which was given to them, but did not eat bacon, 
without a degree of repugnance. 

Thofe favages had excellent teeth, and found 

Vol. I. S no 


no difficult}' in rtiafticating the harclcft bifcuits 
which were offered to them. 

Could thofe natives have had any communica- 
tion with the Enghlli and the Spaniards ? One of 
them, on fhowing us an arrow, which he was 
going to tie to the end of one of our firings to 
convey it on board, pronounced, very diilincflly, 
the Englifh A'S'ord arro'w. /Another, fliov/ing us 
the land, and inviting us to it, made ufc of the 
Spanifli word l}crra. 

We learned from the Efperance, that feveral 
of them pronounced the w^ord Bonka, the name 
which General Bougainville gave to their iflan. 
This word, which in the Malayan language is the 
expreffion of negation, and which, when the firft 
fyllable is pronounced long, fignifies to open, 
doubtlefs feems to indicate fome analogy wdth the 
Malayan ; from w^iich, however, it differs fo 
much, that one of the flfip's company, who fpokc 
the language fluently, could not nnderftand thofe 

The value which they fcemcd to affix to nails,, 
and the other articles of hardware which we 
gave them, ffiowcd that they were acquainted 
with the ufc of iron. 

The colour of their llcins is blackilh. They 
arc of a middling ftature ; and being naked, their 


July.] of la PEROtrsE. 2^5 

diftindly marked mufcles indicated great ftrength. 
Their figure though not very agreeable, is ex- 
tremely expreffive. Their heads are very big ; 
their foreheads broad, like the reft of their faces, 
which are very flat, efpecially under the nofe ; 
their chins large and prominent ; their cheeks 
full, their nofcs flat, their mouths very large, and 
their lips very thin. 

The betel, which gives a bloody tint to their 
large mouths, adds to theuglinefs of their appear- 

Their ears are loaded with large rings made 
of fliells, the weight of which contributed to the 
large fize of thofs organs. Some had red and 
white ftreaks traced upon their bodies ; and we 
obferved one whofe hair and nofe were fprinkled 
with a red earth, which appeared to be ochre. 
Some had bracelets formed of the fibres of the 
cocoa-nut hufk. 

Their hair was curled, thick and bulky, like 
that of many papows, whom w^e afterwards met 

They are in the praftice of plucking the hair 
from every part of the body. There was but one 
feen, on board the Efperance, who allow^ed his 
beard to grow. 

All of them had their loins girded with a cord, 
which went feveral times about the body, and 

S 2 feemcd 


feemed only dcfignedas a point of fupport, to in- 
creafe the mufcular ftrength of tliofe parts. One 
of them, probably with a fnnilar view, had his 
left arm tied in three different places, over the 
biceps mufcie ; fome flat bits of wood, on the 
outfide of the arm, fupporting the ftrain of the 

Thofe favages appeared to handle the bow 
with much addrefs. One of them brought on 
board the Efperance, a booby, which he had 
brought down with an arrow ; and the fatal 
wound. was feen in the belly of the bird. 

The induftry of thofe iflanders feemed to be 
particularly diredied to the fabrication of their 
arms, which were formed with great care. We 
admired the Ikill w^ith which they had coated 
their bov/-ftrings with a rcfuious fubftancc, which 
gave them, at firft fight, the appearance of cat- 
gut. The middle of the ftring was done round 
with bark, in order to fave it from wear, by 
giving the impulfe to the arrdvv- The inferior 
part of the arrows was very light, being formed 
of the ftalk of the faccharmn fpontaneum ; and the 
other part confifted of very hard wood, well 
pointed. The joining is ingeniouily fattened with 
about thirty turns of bark, as is alfo the part of 
the arrow which bears upon the ftring, to give 
it the greater folidity. 



Their canoes, formed of feveral planks, inge- 
nioully joined together, are of a fhape at once 
elegant, and adapted for a quick motion. See 
Plate XLIII. 

At the approach of night, a current fetting to 
the N. N. W. communicated to the tide a rip- 
pling motion, fo like the efFc6L of aollioal, that it 
might have deceived the moft experienced eye. 
The boat was Tent to found, but no bottom was 
found with twenty-fix fathoms of line. 

During the night, violent thunder claps diffi- 
pated the thick clouds which enveloped the fum- 
mits of the mountains, while we fteered S. S. W. 
in order, if poffiblc, to ftem the current. 

We had now explored the weftern coafi; of thofe 
two iflands, as General Bougainville had their 
eaftern parts, when he firft difcovered them. 

The moft eafterly, which is at the fame time 
the moft foutherly, point of Bougainville llland, 
is in latitude f 4^ 50^' S. and in longitude 15 3^ 
18' 3-1" E. 

The northern point, called Point Laverdy, is 
in o° 34' S. lat. and in 152° 31' E. long;. 

The coral banks, which we difcovered off Bou- 
gainville Ifland, are fituated in 0° ll' S. lat., and 
152^ 2' E. long. 

The north point of the ifland of Bouka, is in 
5"^ 5' 30'' S. lat. and 152° g' E. long. 

S3 The 

2/8 - VOYAGE IN SEA'RCH [1792. 

The eafterly variation of the compafs diminifh- . 
ed till it came to 7° 30^. 

The currents along the coafl:, carried us con- 
ftantly from 8^ to 1 0^ to the north- weft every day. 

The thermometer did not rife above 22°, al- 
though we were fo near the Equator. 

lOth. At fun-rife we had fu^ht of a flat ifland, 
to which Carteret has given the name of Sir 
Charles Hardy, ftretching from north 15*^eaft, to 
north 22° 30^ eaft, diftant about 1.5,000 toifes. 
It is fituated 25,000 toifcs N. N. W. of the illand 
of Bouka. 

About one in the afternoon, we came in fight 
of Cape Saint George, on the fovith-eaft of New 
Ireland, -bearing W. N. W., diftant about 20, 000 
toifes. It w^as found to be in 4° bA' 3o" S. lat. 
and 150^ 39^ E, longitude. 

We worked to windward, by tacking, all th,e 

1 /th. At day-break we ftcered for Carteret har- 
bour, where we could not ftop to anchor. Leav- 
ing the ifland of Marteaux about 25,000 toifes on 
the ftarboard, we fteered fo as to pafs very* near 
the Booby rocks, leaving Laig Illand on the lar- 
board, and v/e arrived between the ifland of Cocos 
and New Ireland, where we came to an anchor, 
about half paft one o'clock P. M. in thirty-two 
&tboms of water, the bottom being very foft 


July.] of la perouse. 279 

blaek mud, mixed with calcareous fand. We were 
about 200 toifes from the ifland of Cocos. 

The north-weft point of New Ireland bore weft 
12^ north, diftant about 25,000 toifes, and the 
Ibuth-eaft point of the fame ifland bore foutli 
3^1° eaft, at the fame diftance. 

The middle of the paffage, on the north-weft 
of Carteret harbour, bore weft lo'^ north. 

At the diftance of about fifty toifes from the 
ifland of Cocos, we would have been in a har- 
bour well defended on all fides. There is an- 
chorage at a very fmall diftance from the land ; 
for about ten toifes from the fliore there are five 
fathoms of water, and, as the diftance increafcs, 
the depth increales very rapidly. 

We went on fiiore, on the ifland of Cocos, to 
pafs -the reft of the day. That little ifland, the 
higheft part of Vvdiich is not above feventy-five 
toifes above the level of the fca, is formed of 
very white calcareous ftones. Having rifen from 
under the water, time has not much altered the 
form of the madrepores, which enter into its 
compofition. They may be traced even on the 
rocks, which arc the moft expofcd to the inju- 
ries of the air. The ifland is terminated on the 
fouth-eaft, and on the north- weft, by the fame 
kind of ftones. About mid-way between it and 

S 4 Laisr 


Laig Ifiand, there is fufHcient depth to allow 
fhips a pail age. 

A great quantity of rain having fallen in the 
night, there arofe fo much humidity out of the 
woods, as formed clouds every inftant, which 
originating chiefly in the loweft places, refembled, 
at iirft fight, the fmoke of fires kindled in the 
foreft, and as foon as they had acquired fufficient 
elevation to be expofed to the current of air, they 
prefently difappeared. 

Large trees, which always preferve their ver- 
dure, cover the illand of Cocos. Though their 
roots find little vegetable mould among the cal- 
careous ftones, between which they penetrate, 
yet, in that moifi; fituation, they flourifli very 
luxuriantly. It was a pleafant fpediacle to fee the 
fine tree, known by the name of harrlngtonia 
fpeciofa, attrad:ed by the humidity, extend its 
branches horizontally a great way over the fea. 
That illand produces fig-trees of different fpecics; 
and we expected to find there abundance of co- 
coa-nuts. This expeLS:ation was indeed one rea- 
ibn for our preferring this anchoring place to fe- 
veral others at no great dillalice. But we found , 
it difficult to procure even a dozen of thofe nuts. 

We faw, with concern, that fome of the party, 
who had been fent on Ihore for wood, had allow- 

July.] of la perouse. 281 

ed themfelves to cut down the cocoa-nut trees 
for the fake of the fruit. They carefully fearchcd 
for the young leaves on the tops of the trees, 
which are very tender, and afforded very agree- 
able refreflimcnt to people who had lived long 
on falted provjfions. If we had permitted them, 
they would not have left a cocoa-nut tree in the 
ifland ; and that anchorage v/ould have been de- 
prived, perhaps for ever, of a refource extremely 
agreeable to navigators. 

The night overtook us, when in the middle 
of the wood, and we were entertained with the 
charming fpccftacle of a prodigious number of 
glow w^orms, which diffufed fo much brightnels 
as to dazzle, rather than enlighten us. 

It was the time at which the fpecies of crab 
called cancer riirkola, leaves the holes which it 
digs. On our w^ay to the place where the boat 
was waiting for us, we trod upon feveral of them, 
and fome of our party, before they knew w^hat 
animal it was, were apprehenfive that it was fome 
venomous reptile. 

1 8th. The next day I vifited the fouth-eaft part 
of the ifland ; but vines of different kinds pre- 
vented me from penetrating far into the forefts. 

Different fpecies of the epideiidrum adorned the 
trunks of the largeft trees, and grew in the midft 
of a great number of ferns equally parafitical. 


232 Voyage IN SEARCH [l792. 

We obferved, floating along the fliore, the fruits 
of feveral fpecies of the pandamis, of the har- 
r'mgjon'ui fpeciofa, and of the hentieray which 
ftrctched their branches, and even their trunks, 
in a very remarkable" manner, oyer the waters of 
the fea. 

Two of our men who followed me faw an al- 
ligator clofe to the lliore, on the fouth-eaft ex- 
tremity of the ifland of Cocos. But I do not be- 
lieve that thofe animals are very common there ; 
for, during the whole time that wx lay at an- 
chor, no accident happened, though a great num- 
ber of our people wxre in the habit of bathing. 

Near the eailern extremity of this little ifland, 
I obferved feveral kinds of nautili, diffcminated 
amidft the prodigious quantity of lithophites, 
which entered into its compofition. 

The abundance and continuance of the rains 
wxre aftonifhing. It was an inceifant torrent of 
tepid w^ater, w^hich, however, did not hinder us 
from vifiting the environsof the anchoring place. 

I landed feveral days fucceffively, on the iflands 
of Cocos and Laig. 

The number of infc^ls of different forms and 
colours was truly aftonifhing ; and the rains did 
not appear to diminifh their adiivity. They^were 
^\\\^?L-^ cohopteros, which it was difficult to catch. 


July.] of la perouse. 283 

The moil varied fpecics belonged to the genus 
c'lchidclafahr. , 

We were entertained with the pleafant view 
of different fpecies of figtrces, from the top 
branches of which depended a great number of 
radicles, foon to be transferred to the foil, and 
to give birth to fo many different trees. 

The palm cycas circmalis hath multiplied 
greatly in the iliallows, under the lliade of the 
great trees. We obferved near them, an arbour 
newly conftrucled with branches, w^here the na- 
tives had been repofmg, and had left the frag- 
ments of a repafi: they had made on the fruit of 
the cycas, the kernels of which^ if eaten without 
preparation, are a powerful emetic, as feveral of 
our fliip's company experienced ; bat the favages 
had roafted them, as we obferved the marks of 
fire on a great number of the IiuIIls. 

The kernel of the fruit of the cycas circhtaUsi 
is very bitter. The inhabitants of the Moluccas 
know how" to put it to a better ufe, than thofe 
of New Ireland, as I had occafion to obferve, 
towards the end of this voyage. Experience had 
taught them, that maceration freed it from its 
liurttul qualities ; and the fame procefs may alfo 
fucceed vvith many other fruits and roots, which, 
m this manner, may be rendered ufeful, as food 
for animals and even for man. 



There lay on the ground, a great number of 
the fruits of the cycas, which the favages had not 
touched. Their fucculent hufk, which diffufed 
an odour, hke that of the fineft apple, contains 
fermentative particles fufficient to produce a good 
fpirituous liquor. Thofe fruits abound there,' and 
may be ufeful to navigators. 

Among the large trees which grow on the ifland 
of Cocos, I obferved, v/ith furprize, a new fpecies 
of arec, the trunk of which was above eighteen 
toifes in height, and its thicknefs throughout, 
not more than three inches. It was difficult for 
us to conceive how a tree, fo w^eak in appear- 
ance, could fupport itfelf to fo great an elevation ; 
but our aftoniflimcnt ceafed, when we attempted 
to cut one down. Its wood was fo very hard, as 
to refift, for fome time, the moft forcible ftrokes 
of the axe. A great quantity of interlaced fami- 
lacee) fubftance, under the form of pith, occu- 
pied its centre, a circumftance common to many 
other trees of the fame genus. This pith taken 
out of the trunk, left a cylinder, the wood of 
which did not exceed four-tenths of an inch in 
thicknefs, and was of a fine black colour. The 
fruit of this new fpecies of arec is red, fcarcely 
larger than a common olive, and nearly of the 
fame fliape. 

The caryota nrcns was one of the large trees of 


July.] of la perouse. 285 

thofe forefts. Among the number of fhrubs, 
were feveral fpecies of the draazna. Among the 
large trees, I admired a folarmm, certainly the 
higheft ipecies of that genus ; thofe hitherto 
known to botanifts, being only herbs or feeble 
flirubs. The leaves of this are oval, hard and 
very fmooth.- 

That fine tree, the te5iona grandts, fo valuable 
for fliip-building, grows at Carteret harbour. I 
alfo faw there different fpecies of the guettarda, 
and a new fpecies of hermandia, 

Moifes and ferns were very numerous, and 
grew with the greateft luxuriance, in thofe hu- 
mid Situations. 

The wxilern Hiore of the Ifland of Cocos is 
precipitous, and very much elevated above the le- 
vel of the fea. The calcareous ftones, of v^^hich 
it is compofed, being much expofed to the in- 
juries of the weather, are very friable. I found 
there the nutmeg-tree, which Rumphius has de- 
fcribed, under the denomination of myrift'tcd mas 
(Kumph. Amh. vol. 2. tab. 5.) The fruit was 
then but young. It is more elongated than that 
of the fpecies which is cultivated. 

Some favage muft certainly have perifhed 
among thofe rocks, for I found a human fkeleton 
almoft entire. 

Near to that was a place where I faw the re- 

^85 VOYAGE IN SEA.RCrr [iTO^. 

mains of a fire, which had been kindled by the 
natives who frequent that coaft. 
• The continual rains at Carteret harbour, have 
rendered fome fpecies of fpiders very induftrious. 
They conftrucl excellent places of fnelter, in the 
middle of their webs, confifting of a fnug fabric, 
in the fliape of a cornet of paper, four-fifths of 
an inch in heis^ht, and one-fifth of an inch broad 
in the bafe, with its top elevated and a little in- 
clined towards the fouth-eaft, in order that the 
prevailing winds may have the lefs force on this 
little habitation. The rain glides oiF this kind 
of cone, without being able to enter it, or to prefs 
it down, being flrctched on all fides by threads 
faflencd to the neighbouring branches. The 
fpider, being perfeclly fheltered in this habitation, . 
never leaves it, but to feize the infe(5ls which fall 
into her toils. 

Another fort of fpider which is a lefs produc- 
tive fpinfler than the former, protects herfelf from 
the rain under a piece of a leaf bent into a form 
aimofl conical, which fhe places in the centre of 
her web. Every precaution is taken to give Ib- 
lidity to her habitation, the point of which is 
oppofed to the fouth-eafl: wind, in order that it 
may be the lefs affeded by its impuife. 

Nature hath done every thing for other fpecies 
of fpiders, which are covered with very hard 


July.] of la perouse. ' 287 

fkins, and as fmooth as if they were coated with 
the finefl varniih. Thofe fuffer no inconvenience 
from the great rains to which they are conftantly 
expofed, and "they wait patiently in the middle 
of their net, for the infc6ls which form their prey. 

Among thole fpiders, I found fome, the bodies 
of which terminated in points : the aranea acu' 
leata^ and the aranea fp'inoja. 

The ifland of Laig, being much lefs than that 
of Cocos, pr^fents fewer producflions. The land 
of it is of the fame nature, but much lefs ele- 

The precipitous mountains of New Ireland, 
which border upon Carteret harbour, are at leaft, 
three times as high as thofe of the ifland of 
Cocos. The marine produd:ions, of which they 
are partly compofed, are obfervable, in the fame 
manner, even on their fammits. 

On the 23d I landed on New Ireland, N. N. W, 
of the anchoring place, and near the place 
whence our fliip received her water. The ilream 
which furniflied it, vvas vliible only near the fea. 
Farther inland, we faw the channel of a torrent, 
along which, in different places, were cavities 
filled with water, which filtrating through the 
fand, formed the little brook which fupplied the 
watering-place. After an hour's walk along its 
banks, we came to a beautiful cafcade, which 


288 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792, 

it formed, by dafhing from the high calcareous 
rocks, in which we obferved vaft grottoes, which 
fei-ved as retreats for large bats, of the fpecies 
denominated vefpert'iUo vampynis. 

Some wild bread-fruit trees grew in thofe 
places. ® 

At a time when Carteret harbour was inundated 
with continual rain, I was aftoniihed to fee only 
the channel of a torreftt without any water ; but 
it appeared to me, that the rain did not extend 
far enough inland to fill it. Of this it was eafy 
to be convinced, by the ferenity of the fky to- 
wards the fouth-weft, while at the anchoring- 
place, the rain fell without intermiffion. Car- 
teret harbour forms a fort of bafm, where the 
clouds, loaded with water, after paffmg over the 
high mountains of New Ireland, experience a 
calm which hinders the air from fupporting them. 
Hence refult thofe exceffive rains, which render 
the anchoring-place far from defirable to navi- 



Among the little plants, which grow in the 
iliade of the forefts, I obferved fcveral fpecies of 
the procrh, 

Befideg the nutmeg- trees of v/hich I have al- 
ready fpoken, nature hath furniflied the inhabi- 
tants of New Ireland with the fpecies of pepper, 
known to botanifls, by the name of piper cubche^ 


July,] of la. perotjse. 289 

which I obferved adorning the bafes of the large 
trees, through a very extenfive i]3ace. 

Our boat was fent a fifliing on the coaft of New 
Ireland, about 5,000 toifes to the fouth-eaft. 
There were obferved fome habitations, which 
had been newly and very ingenioully conftru^led 
by the natives, Avho were not contented with 
the roafted fruit of the cycas circhtalis; for the 
remains of fhell-fifh were feen near thofe cottages. 

24th. When the Commander anchored in 
Carteret harbour, he intended to remain therp 
at leaft fifteen days ; but the exceffive rains m^de 
him refolve to leave it much fooner. 

The greateil activity had been been exerted in 
procuring our complement of wood and water; 
and on the morning of the 24th we had made 
every preparation for fetting fail. 

The water which we took in at Carteret har- 
bour was very good, and procured with great fa- 
cilit)', by means of wooden fpouts, which con- 
veyed it into the boat, with no other trouble 
than lifting it three feet lower than the fpout. 

Our wood was cut in the Illand of Cocos, and 
the conveyance of it was the more eafy, as the 
boat could come clofe to the beach. It is pro- 
per to remark, that the wood, which we ob- 
tained at Carteret harbour, introduced into the 
fliip a prodigious number of fcorpions and fco- 

VoL. I. T lopendra'. 


*opendrae, of the fpecics called fcolopeftdra morji" 
tanSi infects which very much incommoded u?.* 

It was to no purpofe, that we eredled the ob- 
fervatory'on the ifland of Cocos ; for the incelTant 
rains did not allow us to make a fmgle obferva- 
tion. It is difficult to form a proper idea of thefe 
cxceffive rains, which poUrcd down in an almofl 
uninterrupted torrent. 

The thermometer, obferved at noon, w^hile we 
lay at anchor, varied from ]Q° to 21°; and the 
barometer only from 28 inches 1 7-lOth lines, to 
28 inches 1 2- 10th lines. 

Our fliip lay at anchor in 4" 48' lo'' S. lat., and 
150° 25' 40^' E. long. 

This harbour afforded us no refrefiiments ; and 
we were unfuccefsful in fifliing. 
. The tides took place but once a day, and rofe 
only about iix feet. 

*The harbouring of fuch nnxious and abominable reptiles^ 
is a folld objeftion againft the wainfcotting of houfes in tro- 
pical climates, which is afterwards tacitly reeommended bv 

tlie author. — Trariflaur. 


July.] of la perouse. 291 


Departure from Cartaret Harhour — Ojl that Oc- 
cajion the ^J^erance lofes a?i Anchor — FaJJage 
througJi St. George' s Channel — VUvj of the Port^ 
land I/lands — Dfferent Intei-views witJi the Na- 
tives oftM Admiralty Iflands — Their f ant ajlkal 
Vafliion — Defpotifm of their Chief s^ — Canoes — 
Afloniflung rapidity'of their Mot 1071 — View of the 
Hermit IJlands — Their Inhabitants — View of the 
Exchequer IJlands — A New Ifiand — A TVater 
Spout — Vieiv of New Guiiiea — Vajfage through 
Pitt Strait — ■Si?igular Effedls of the Tides — Ra- 
vages of the Scurvy — A?ichor at Amboyna. 

^N the 24th of July about 11 A. M. we fet 
fail from Carteret harbour, and took advan- 
tage of a gentle breeze at fouth-eaft, to pais 
through the north-weft opening, between Cocos 
Ifiand and New Ireland. 

The current fet to the W. N. W. and at noon 
we were 5,000 tolfes W. N. W. of our anchor- ■ 
ing place. 

The Efperance, not having hove up her anchor 
in time to profit by this breeze, a calm fucceeded 
almoft as foon as fhe fet her fails, and the cur- 
rent drove her towards the breakers, on tjie ftar- 

T 2 board 


board of lier paiTage out of the harbour. She was 
therefore obliged to call anchor, and wait for a 
wind, to extricate her from this dangd^ous fitua- 

We lay to, in hopes that (he would foon rejoin 
lis ; but it was half an hour paft four before flie 
could overtake us. The captain then told us 
that he was in danger of being wrecked at the 
entrance o{ the harbour which we had quitted. 
Having been forced by the current to come to an 
anchor on a coral bottom, the cable had been cut 
by the rocks, at the moment \;hen a breeze 
fprang up at fouth-eaft, and carried them from 
the rocks. They had come too near them to caft 
a fecond anchor with advantage ; and the frigate 
quitted the ftation wdth the lofs of an anchor, 
and three fathoms of cable. 

Our pofition now enabled us to obferve, that 
the channel of St. George is not more than 30,000 
or 35,000 toifes in breadth, at its fouthern ex- 
tremity. The obfcurity of the weather appears 
to have led Carteret into the error, o( fuppofing 
its breadth almoil double of what we found it. 

We tried during the night, and the current 
carried us into St. George's channel, at the rate 
of 2,500 toifes in the hour. 

Abou.t one o'clock in the morning the Ifle of 
Man bore W. S. W., diftant 5,000 toifes. 

A very 

July.] of la perouse. ' 203 

A very thick fog concealed from us, all day, 
the lofty mountains of New Ireland. But their 
fummits appeared from time to time, and "we 
had fight of mountains towards the centre of that 
iiland, at leaft 1,000 toifes in perpendicular ele- 
vation. We obferved large trees even on the 
higheft of their peaks. 

At four in the afternoon we lay to> w ith an in- 
tention to explore Sandwich Illand the next day* 
But the currents hurried us along with fuch rapi- 
dity during the night, that at day break, when 
we were fetting the fails, we were aftonifhed to 
find ourfelves not more than two hundred toifes 
, from that illand. 

The watch had probably been aileep ; for wx 
received no intimation that the current w^as driv- 
ing us upon the coaft ; which, however, even at 
that fmall diftance, happily prefcnted no danger. 

The iiland of Sandwich has no confiderable 
elevation. Like New Ireland, it was covered 
with trees ; and fomc old trunks, after lofmg part 
of their branches, wxre fcattered here and there 
upon the little hills. Being covered with pa- 
rafite plants, they looked like columns adorned 
with garlands, and added greatly to the pi<5lurefque 
appearance of that charming illand. 

The part of New Ireland too, which lies oppo- 

fite to Sandwich liland, prefcnts a travSt but little 

T 3 elevated. 


elevated. There arofe, however, in the middle 
of a vafl plain, fome little hills which might be 
200 or 250 toifes in perpendicular height. 

The north-v/eft part of Sandwich Ifland ter- 
minates in fcveral points or flips of land, advanced 
into the fea. We diftinguillied five principal 
ones ; and near the bafe of one of them, is a peak- 
ed hill, which is the higheil; land in the ifland ; 
although its perpendicular altitude does not ex- 
ceed 200 or 250 toifes, and confequently it is 
much lefs elevated than Captain Carteret alledges. 
The clearnefs of the weather, and the near ap- 
proach we made to this little mountain, enabled 
us to judge of its elevation. 

Some huts in the fhade of the woods of cocoa- 
nut trees, made us hope for an interview with the 
inhabitants of Sandwich Ifland; but it was doubt- 
lefs too early in the morning for them to pay us 
a vifit, for we did not fee a fmgle individual. 

The mofl weflerly point of that ifland is in 2^ 
5a' 26" S. lat. and 148° 29'' 15" E. longitude. Its 
greatefl length, from E. S. E. to W. N. W. is 
15,000 toifes. 

At its w^eflern point we obfcrved a little ifland, 
which Carteret had not perceived. 

Ten days had clapfed without our having had 
an opportunity of obferving the paflage of the fun 
over the meridian; but on the 2()th of July, we 



found our latitude at noon to be 2° 50^ 29'' S., and 
our longitude 148° 1 C/ 50" E. ; and we were en- 
abled to determine the fituation of the northern,, 
and moft wellierly point of New Ireland, which 
was in 2° 44^ 3o" S. lat, and 140^ 11^ 3o" E. 
longitude. The obfcurity of the weather rnuft 
have occafioned the error of Carteret, who placed 
it above 10,000 toifes farther to the north. 

About four o'clock in the evening, we were 
diilant about 1,500 toifes from a great number 
of little iflands, fituatcd at the entrance of the 
channel which feparates New Ireland from N<ew 
Hanover ; and we obferved that the palTage. be- 
tween thofe iflands was obflrmR:ed by reefs. 
New Ireland is terminated by low lands- 
New Hanover, towards the north- weft, pre-r 
fents a flat furface, while its centre is occupied 
by a chain of very high mountains, w hich extend 
towards the fouth-ealh 

27th. In the morning of this day, we had fight 
of Portland Iflands, which we coafted at a fmall 
diftance. They form a group of fcven little 
iflands, which occupy a fpace of about 7,500 
toifes in extent, in the diredion of eaft and weft. 
They are very fiat, covered with large trees, and 
are conneded together by reefs and fand-banks.. 
Thofe little iflands are in latitude 2" 3(y 44" S. 
and in longitude 14/" 15'' E. 

T 4 - 28th. 

296 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

28th. We continued to diredl our courfe to- 
wards the Admiralty Iflands, where Commodore 
Hunter, according to the account of two French 
captains, believed that he faw the wreck of the 
unfortunate expedition of La Peroufe ; and we 
fteered for the moft foutherly of the little group. 
L.ike moft- of the iilands in the South Seas, this 
is bordered by reefs at a fmall diftance from the 

■' A line of fifty toifes in length did not reach 
the bottom ; although we were but 1,000 toifes 
from the land. 

We obferved towards the S. W. fome canoes 
proceeding along fhore, within the reefs ; but 
none of them feemed defirous of getting clear of 
the reefs, in order to come towards us. We 
alfo diftinguifhed fome groups of natives, upon 
the moft advanced points of land, in order that 
they might have the better view of our fhips. 

A large tree ftanding above the breakers, was 
taken by fome for the wreck of a ihip ; but the 
branches and roots which were diftind:ly feen, 
left no doubt that it was a tree, which had been 
detached from the coaft. 

The Commander fent an officer on board the 
Efperance, to concert with the captain the re- 
fearches which it would be proper to make at the 
Admiralty Ifiands, agreeable to the intelligence 


July.] of la perouse. 2g7 

which had been feiit us at the Cape of Good 

We paiTed the night in beating about, and mak- 
ing head againft the currents. 

29th. Captain Huon waited on the General, 
^arly the next morning. He was of opinion, 
that we ihould vifit the ifiand E. N. E. of that 
we had coafted. In fad, according to one of the 
depofitions which had been fent to the Com- 
mander of the expedition, it was on the moft 
cafterly ifland that the favages had been fcen 
cloathed in the uniform of the French marine. 
About the middle of the day we were within 
2,500 toifes of that ifland, and faw fome of 
the natives, coming towards the beach. Some 
huts were feen among the cocoa-nut trees. Other 
iflanders foon appeared on the fouth-eaft point ; 
and their number increafed as we approached 
them. Some canoes lay upon the fand, and we 
hoped to fee the natives launch them, in order to 
meet us ; but they m.ade no difpofitions for that 
purpofe. As the General wilhed to have an in- 
terview with them, we went under the lee of 
the ifland, where we found but little flicker, it 
being of fmall extent. A crowd of natives now 
appeared. Some ran along the fliore ; others kept 
their eyes direded towards our fliips, inviting us 
by figns to come on fliore, and exprefling their 


joy by fhoutingi Some of them launched a canoe, 
but helitated for fome time to come near our 
ihip, and paddled towards the Efperance which 
was more to windward. This little canoe was 
furnifhed with an out-rifi^ser, and had on board 
feven natives, who almoft immediately returned 
on fhore. 

At half paft one o'clock we brought to, and 
difpatched from each fhip a boat, with different 
articles, to be diliributed among the inhabitants 
of that little ifland. While the boats were ap- 
proaching the land as near as they could, the fri- 
gates w^ere in readinefs to protedl them, in cafe 
of an attack from the favages ; for the perfidy, 
which the inhabitants of the moft ibutherly of 
the Admiralty Illands had pradiiled on Carteret, 
gave us fome apprehenfions with regard to the in- 
tentions of thofe. That voyager tells us, that in 
September 17^7> w^hen he difcovered the fouthern 
part of that archipelago, the favages attacked 
him with two volleys of arrows, notwithftanding 
the marks of friendfliip which he had iavifhed 
upon them. 

This ifland was cultivated to its very fummit. 
Several pieces of land were fenced in, which 
made us believe that the inhabitants w^ere ac- 
quainted with the right of property. The whole 
ifland prefented the appearance of a little round 


July.] of la perouse. 299 

mountain, the bafe of which was adorned with 
beautiful plantations of cocoa-nut trees, while its 
more elevated parts appeared to be allotted to the 
cultivation of different roots, w^hich alfo furnifli 
food to the inhabitants. 

When the boats came within about fifty toiics 
of the iliore, they found no bottom with thirty- 
three fathoms of line ; and the reefs, with which 
the ifiand is bordered, prevented them from ap- 
proaching nearer. 

A great number of natives advanced to the 
beach. We counted more than an hundred and 
fifty, who prad:ifed every mean in their power, 
to induce us to land on their ifiand ; but the reefs 
were an obftacle which we could not fuormount. 
They threw our people fome cocoa-nuts, and 
wxrc pleafcd and aftonlfhcd to fee with what fa- 
cility they were opened with an axe. 

One of the natives, diftinguifhed from the reft 
by a double row of little fliells, which adorned 
his forehead, appeared to poilefs great authority. 
He ordered one of the natives to fvv im towards us 
with fome cocoa-nuts. The fear of approaching 
perfons of whofe intention he was ignorant, made 
the iflander, fwimming and defcncelefs, hefitate 
a moment. But the chief who, doubtlefs, was 
little accuflomed to have his will difobeyed, did 
not allow him to rcfled:. Blows from a cudgel, 


300 TOYAGE IN SEARCH [^792, 

which h* held in his hand^ immediately fucceeded 
his orders, and enforced inftant obedience. We 
did not expe^l to fee a man treated in this man- 
ner^ in the midft of a crowd of people, who ap- 
peared to be fo little removed from a liate of na- 
ture. By way of comforting the poor fellow, our 
people gave him fbmc bits of red ItufF, a few nails, 
and a knife, with which he was greatly pleafed. 
No fconer had he returned to the iiland, than cu- 
riofity colledied all the reil: around him, every- 
one wifhing to fee our prefents. Canoes were 
immediately launched, many natives took to the 
water and fwam, and in a fliort time there, w^as a 
great concourfe around our^boats. Vv^e were fur-^ 
prized to fee that neither the force of the furf» 
nor of the breakers, difcouraged them from this 

There w^as another chief diftinguiihed by the 
fame ornaments as he who has been already men- 
tioned ; and alfo by the blows, which he inflidled 
with his cudgel, on thofe to whom he gave his 

Thofe iflandcrs, w^ho fignified the greateft fa- 
tisfat^ion at the fight of our nails^ and ftill more 
of our hatchets, had fome difficulty in perceiving 
the value of our knives. At firft they required 
them to be fliut, before they would receive them ; 
but their fears were very quickly baniflied, and 



they received thein open as well as (hut. Thole 
people gave us fome fpears, armed with bits of 
vitreous, volcauic lava, terminating in a point, 
and very iliarp in the edges. They alfo prefented 
us with combs, having only three teeth, very dif- 
tant from each other, very heavy bracelets, formed 
of large Ihells, and others confifting of fmall huc- 
c'ma, ftrung on a fibrous fubllanccj as flrong as 
the beft hemp. 

When alking for our articles in exchange for 
theirs, thofe favages often repeated the word ca^ 
pelle. It appeared to us that this was their name 
for iron, w hich they preferred to every thing we 
could offer them. 

Like the natives of Bouka, they repeated with 
much juftnefs, the French words which they 
heard us pronounce. 

One of their canoes was driven by the fwell 
againft one of our boats, and received fome da- 
mage. One of our rowers taking hold of it to 
prevent a fecond fiiock, a chief, mifapprehending 
our intention, made the fignal to the canoe-men, 
.the greater part of v;hom precipitately jumped 
into the fea, with a defign to fwim on Ihore ; but 
they returned as foon as they perceived their error, 
and confidence w^as re-eftabliihed. 

The women kept at fome difliance, under the 



cx)Coa-nut trees. Their whole cloathlng confifled 
of a piece of mat, round their middle. 

The men were very bufy about our boats* 
Some fwam towards them, Allowing their cocOa- 
nuts ; and others fecmed to be attracted by curio- 
fity ; but it was foon difcovered that this v/as not 
their only paffion ; for they exerted all their ad- 
drefs to get polTefTion of our goods. Impunity 
increafed their bpldnefs ; and, when they miffed 
their aim, they were not difcouraged ; but pre- 
fently endeavoured to feize Ibmething elfe. 

One of thofe thieves feized upon a knife ; but 
being caught in the fa6l, he was obliged to give 
it up. This did not make him abandon his enter- 
prizc, and he loll nothing by his failure. A flag, 
in which red predominated, attracted his regards : 
he found means to get poiTellion of it, and the 
theft was not perceived till he had got a great 
way from the boat, and had almoft reached the 

A looking-glafs liaving been given to one of 
thofe favages, he contemplated his image with 
furprize; but immediately broke the glafs, hoping, 
no doubt, to fmd in it the objeds which it re- 

The complexion of thofe iflanders. is black, 
but not very deep. Their phyflognomy is agree-^ 


JuLr.] OF LA PEROUSE. 303 

able, and not very different from that of the Eu- 
ropeans. Born in a fine cHmate, and a fertile 
ifland, they feem to be happy, if one may judge 
from the air of fatisfadion, which is expreffed in 
all their features. The hair of their heads is 
crifped, and they are in the practice of removing 
it from every other part of the body. It appeared 
that the volcanic glafs, with which they pointed 
their fpears, fupplied them alfo w^ith razors ; for 
they made figns to one of our gunners, who w^orc 
whilkers, to fhave thejn with this fort of glafs. 

The boats had orders to return about four 
o'clock. Their departure feemed fenfibly to affedt 
the natives, who redoubled their importunity in 
foliciting us to land in their ifland. All the wo- 
men came to the beach, and joijied their invita- 
tions to thofe of the men. They were, no doubt 
much fiirprifed that they had not more fuccefs ; 
but the order had been given, and our boats could 
not delay their departure. 

It was with regret that w^e left thofe people, at 
the moment when they had launched feveral 
canoes, loaded with cocoa nuts, and wxre bring- 
ing them to us. The delicious water of thofe 
fruits, would have been of the greateft utility in 
flopping the progrefs of the fcurvy, which had 

already begun its ravages in both the fhips. If our 



boats could have flopped fome minutes, they 
would have procured a great number of them. 

The fatisfacftion with which thofe iflanders 
Teceived nails, and other articles of iron, and the 
anxiety they Ihowed to obtain them, were proofs 
that they were acqviainted with that metal. 

Thofe people, at firft, manifefled every ap- 
pearance of good faith ; but they difcovered their 
inclination to theft, as foon as they thought them 
felves certain of impunity. We had occafion to 
obferve, that thofe who were the mofl: advanced 
in years were the boldeil: thieves. 

That little ifland, which is nearly circular, is 
about 25,000 toifes in diameter, and is fituated 
in 2° 18'S. lat, and 145° 46' E. long. It is ex- 
tremely populous ; for we faw about three hun- 
dred of its inhabitants. 

The white appearance of feveral places of the 
ifland, where fractures difcovered the flrata, gave 
me reafon to believe, that its bafe is of a calcare- 
ous nature, like the greater part of the South Sea 

As foon as the boats were hoifted on board, wc 
direc^^ed our courfe towards the E. i N. E. 

30th. The next day we got to the northward 
pf the Admiralty Iilands. There we perceived, 
that an extenfive mountainous ifland occupies 


July.] of la perouse. 305 

the centre of the group, the circumference of 
which confifts of a great number of little flat 
iflands, which feem to have emerged from tie 
bofom of the ocean, at no very diflant period. 
Almoft all of them are connected together by reefs 
and fand banks. 

About fun-fetv we were 8,000 toifes to the 
north-eaft of the little iflands which were nearefl: 
to the principal one. 

3lfl:. As foon as day-light appeared, we fteered 
W. S. W. fl:anding in for the land. Some canoes, 
which a very high fail made to loonn large, ap- 
peared at a difliance. 

We were to leeward of thofe iflands, in a large 
bay, formed by their curvatures, and a fliort dif- 
tance from the land. We founded feveral times, 
with fixty-eight fathoms of line, but found no 

There were many cocoa-nut trees on moft of 
the little iflands. A great concourfe of natives 
came upon the beach, and fome of them advanced 
as far as the adjoining reefs. The little iflands 
where there were no cocoa-nut trees, did not 
feem to be inhabited ; for we faw not a fmgle 
favage upon them. 

Several canoes were launched, many fliill lay 
on the fand, and fix, which had fet fail, were 
making towards our fhip. We immediately lay 

Vol. I. U to. 


to, in order to receive them. Some of them^ were 
manned with feven natives, and others with nine 
Having come within 300 toifes of our fhip, they 
furled their fall, and ufcd the paddle to make a 
nearer approach. Each canoe had a commander;r 
who ftood on a pllatform, and gave his orders. 
When the canoes had paddled about 150 toifes,. 
they flopped, and from that diftance one of the 
chiefs addrefled us in a fpeech. His eloquence 
was wholly loft on us ; but the iigns with which 
k was accompanied, did not allow us to doubt 
that he wiflied to induce us to land. Probably 
the paddlers were not permitted to fpeak ; but 
they joined their figns of invitation to thofe of 
the chief. 

We endeavoured, on our part, to prevail on 
them to come nearer our fhip. They could not 
icSiii the fight of our large pieces of red ftufF; 
and, after appearing to deliberate upon the cafe, 
they advanced a little. 

Some of our officers imagining that the found 
of the bells would be agreeable them, they were 
immediately rung ; but, as feveral perfons had 
forefeen, the noife, inftead of attra(5ting the fa- 
vages, made them take to flight. They were 
induced, however, to return, by the iight of feve- 
,ral flags which we waved, and by fome tunes 
played by our fiddler. 


July.] of la perouse. ' 307 

Prefents might procure us their confidence. 
We therefore threw them an empty bottle, which 
we fuppofed they would immediately feize upon. 
But they appeared to look upon it as a fatal gift ; 
for they paid no other attention to it, than to 
keep at a diftance from it. 

Nails and knives which were floated to them 
upon a board, occafioned loud expreffions of joy, 
when the favage who took them up fhowed them 
to his companions. It appeared then, that thofe 
natives were acquainted with the ufe of iron. 

None of them had hitherto ventured to touch 
the bottle ; but the prefents having w^on their 
confidence, one of them took pofTeflion of it, and 
cut the firing by which it was held, with a piece 
of volcanic glafs. 

The natives now made no difficulty of coming 
alongfide of the fhip, but would not confent to 
come on board. The number of canoes by de- 
grees increafed, and our barter was carried on with 
the greatefl fairnefs imaginable. We even faw 
fome of thofe people, who were pufhed at a dif^ 
tance from the fhip, by the concourfc of canoes, 
before they could give us the article which they 
had agreed to exchange for that which they had 
received, making their utmofl efforts for that pur- 
pofe. They carefully fought for the perfons to 
whom they were indebted ; and fome of them, 

U 2 after 

308 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92* 

after an interval of half an hour, came and deli- 
vered us the articles which they owed. 

[In this place the Author has minutely de- 
fcribed a fmgular cuftom wiiich prevails among 
the natives, who, according- to him, cover certain 
parts of their bodies with a white fhell, denomi- 
nated hiilla ovum, (See Plate III.) which, how- 
ever, they appeared willing to difpofe of. Deli- 
cacy forbids the Tranilator from entering either 
into a defcription of the fliell, or of its ufes.] 

The great number of canoes with which we 
were furrounded, prevented many of them from 
approaching the fliip ; but fome of the canoe- 
men fwam towards us with the obje61s of their 
barter. Thofe iflanders preferred, to every thing 
that we oifered them, bits of iron in whatever 
form they happened to be. They fo well diftin- 
guilhed that metal from all other fubftances, that 
they recognized it, even when coated with ruft. 

I thought that habit muft have rendered thofe 
people" excellent fwimmers. But their move- 
ments were too precipitate ; though they differed 
in no other rcfped: from our good European 
fwimmers. They needed not, however, to have 
made great efforts to fupport themfelves in the 
water ; for, by keeping their mouths fliut, they 
immerfed a part of the head. Several fupported 
themfelves in the water, by the motion of their 


'i-<n% dd: 

f.Thenuotv Sc'. 

July.] of la perouse. 309 

feet only, till they tied to our ropes, the articles 
which they wiflied to barter. 

If we may judge of the character of thofe na- 
tives, by their condud; towards us, their difpofi- 
tions were excellent : an air of goodnefs was ex- 
preiTed in their features. Very different from the 
favages of the little ifland, which we had vifitcd 
two days before, they gave us proofs of great pro- 
bity. It was furprifmg to meet with fo great a 
difference in the manners of favages, fo little re- 
moved from each other, and who pradifed the 
fame arts. The difparity of their conduct towards 
us might have proceeded from this ; that the fa- 
vages of the little ifland had dealt only with boats, 
whereas the others did bufinefs v/ith large fliips, 
which infpired refpedl. 

The commanders of the canoes commonly 
made the paddlers furrender the articles which 
we had given them. We faw with pain, that 
they fometimes employed violence for this pur- 
pofe. One of thofe poor people had received trom 
us a bit of red ferge, which he was not willing to 
deliver to one of the chiefs ; but the latter forced 
it from him, by repeated blows with his cudgel. 

At the fame time, one of the iflanders, in an- 
other canoe, was treated with fmiilar harfhii ;iS, 
by one of the chiefs, becaufe the poor wretch nud 
allowed his attention to be occupied in coiitem- 

U 3 plating 

310 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l702. 

plating our Hiips, and had forgotten to bale the 
water out of the canoe. 

The natives who fv^^am towards us, in order to 
exchange their commodities, were confidered as 
competitors, and foon excited the jealoufy of 
thofe in the canoes which furrounded the iliip. 
Thefe laft took great care to preferve their fitua- 
tion : they endeavoured to keep off the fwim- 
mers, and would not allow them to reft, by tak- 
ing hold of their canoes. The fwimmers, being 
thus obliged to move about continually, in carry- 
ing on their barter gave a great deal of a<5livity to 
this fmgular fcene of commerce. 

Thefe natives, like thofe whom we had feen 
two days before, preferred nails to knives. 

Several had in their hands calabafhes of differ- 
ent Hiapes, filled with lime very finely pulverized. 
Others had their lime in pieces of bamboo. One 
of thefe laft, who had a fpoon in the fhape of a 
Ipatula, filled it with lime, which he fliowed to 
us, no doubt by way of recommending its qua- 
lities. By making many motions with his mouth, 
and greatly inflating his cheeks, he feeraed defir- 
ous to perluade us, that his lime produced very 
agreeable fenfations. 

Another chief had a little parcel of the leaves 
of the pepper tret, piper Jtrihoa, Linn. 

They probably chew them without the addi- 


tion of arec nuts ; for we faw in their mouths 
none of the marks which are produced by the 
maftication of betel. We obferved thofe articles 
of luxury only in the poiTeffion of the chiefs, for 
whom they are probably referved. 

Some of thofe favages wore bracelets formed 
of large Ihclls, among which we obferved lea 
ears, ground in the middle and the edges. 

Moft of them had different kinds of fhells ap- 
pended to the inferior lobes of their ears, which, 
when pierced, they are in the habit of extending 
{o prodigioufly that they defcend lower than 
their flioulders^ as appears in Plate III. It feemed 
that they produced this great diflenfion, by intro- 
ducing elaftic hoops into the holes. The only 
child we faw was furnifhed with two fuch 

Their hair is crifped and black ; but they fre- 
quently render it red with a mixture of ochre and 
oil, and fometimes they tie it up with a fillet of 
bark. Their fkin is a light black, which they 
fometimes adorn with red figures in different 
parts of the body. 

They carried neither bows nor clubs but only 
fpears, from about five feet to fix feet and a half 
in length. (See Plate XXVIII. Fig. 25.) The 
vitreous volcanic lava, of which their heads were 
formed, was ground to a iharp edge on each fide, 

U 4 about 

312 VOYAGE IN SEARCH ; [l 792. 

about three inches in length, and faftened with 
a ftring, coated with a kind of maftic. 

This weapon muft be dangerous among a people 
who wear no cloaths. Their fkin, conilantly ex- 
pofed, muft be ill able to refiffc fo fharp a piece of 
giafs, efpecially in places where it has a little ten- 

This volcanic glafs is perhaps not very com- 
mon in the Admiralty Iflands ; for fome of thofe 
favages had fpears armed wdth fharp pieces of 
wood inftead of glafs. 

Many had the feptum of the nofe pierced with 
a hole, which contained a ftring, to the extremi- 
ties of which were fufpended dogs' teeth twice as 
long as human ones. One of them, wifhing to 
part with this ornament, a chief, in cutting the 
ftring aukwardly, which was too iliort, with a 
piece of volcanic glafs, wounded the native. 

An order iiTued by the General very much in- 
terrupted this bartering trade ; although the na- 
tives ftill had a great many things which they 
wifhed to difpofe of. One of the chiefs very 
much amufed us with his calabafh of lime, the 
properties of which he difplayed with many of- 
tentatlous airs, thinking, no doubt, thereby to en- 
hance its price. His geftures might have been 
confidcred, as a happy imitation of thofe of our 
moft dextrous mountebank do(flors. 


July.] of la perouse. 313 

We did not obferve among thofe iflanders any 
articles of European origin. As by this time, \vc 
bought fcarcely any thing, they quitted our (hip, 
and carried the reft of their manufad:ures alonp^- 
fide of the Efperance. 

Their canoes are formed of tlie excavated trunk 
of a tree, with boards fitted to its fides. Their 
length is thirty- two feet, and their extreme 
breadth not more than twenty-fix inches. 
fides are fupported internally by crofs boards, 
which form fo many divifions, in the bottom.s of 
which are the paddlers, towards the two extremi- 
ties of the canoe. 

Thofe canoes are furniflied with an outrigger, 
about thirteen feet in length, which projeds la- 
terally and nearly at the fame diftaiice. On the 
oppofite fide is a counter-outrigger, which does 
not take the water, and which is eight feet in 
length. It ferves as a place upon which to lay 
the fail ; the commander fometimcs fits upon it ; 
but his ftation is commonly on an elevated plat- 
form or trellis, of the fame extent as the outrig-ofer. 


The fail is a mat, in the form of a regular fquare, 
1 3 feet in the fide. Two oppofite fides of it are 
faftened to poles of the fame length, which ferve 
for yards. When the fail is fet, one of its diago- 
nals is always vertical, and its upper angle is ele- 
vated three feet above the top of the maft, which 


514 VOYAGE IN SEARCH , [l 7Q2. 

is about twenty feet in height. The wind ads 
ilrongly upon fo lofty a fail, and gives to thofe 
canoes an impulfe, which makes them plough the 
water with aftonifhing rapidity. 

When this fwift motion is not required, they 
only hoift about five feet of one fide of their fail 
in a horizontal pofition, while the reft of it lies on 
the canoe. But in this way they can only fail 
right before the wind. 

Their paddles are very broad, and are furniflied 
with a handle fix feet and a half in length. They 
ufe them as our failors do their oars ; for they ad: 
like levers, whofe point of fupport is on one fide 
of the canoe. The fteerfman is ftationed in the 
ftern,.and direds the canoe with his paddle. 

After lying to till half paft ten in the morning, 
we continued to follow the coaft in a wefterly di- 
redion. It is every where bordered with iflands 
conneded together by reefs. We obferved, be- 
yond thofe reefs, feveral fifhing places, conftrud- 
ed with ftakes fixed in the bottom, at a certain 
diftance from the beach, and which refembled 
thofe which we afterwards faw in the Moluccas. 

As foon as we fet fail, the canoes followed our 
example, in order to accompany us. We admired 
the celerity with which that flotilla clave the 
waters. Although we had a very frefh breeze, 


July.] of la perouse 315 

and a great deal of fail fet, tbofe little veflels fail- 
ed a great deal fafter than our lliips. 

Clofe to a fifliing place, much larger than any 
that we had feen, were feventeen canoes which 
immediately paddled towards us. We hove to, 
in order to wait for them ; but as, notwithftand- 
ing our invitations, they remained at the diftance 
of five hundred toifes from our lliip, we refumed 
our courfe, directing it to the W. | S. W. 

At the clofe of the day, two canoes pufhed ofF 
from the fliore, and advanced towards us. It was 
night before they came within hearing. One of 
the commanders immediately addrefled us in an 
elevated voice. It is proper to obferve, that the 
voices of thofe natives are very fhrill. As it w^as 
almoft quite calm, we endeavoured to allure 
them to the fhip ; but they durft not venture near 
enough to receive our prefents. 

It was imagined that a fquib would be a plea- 
fing fped:acle to them ; but on the contrary it 
terrified them [fo much, that they retreated with 

Notwithftanding the darknefs of the night, 
thofe two canoes, guided by our lights, returned 
towards us. We fent them fome articles of hard- 
w^are, upon a board along with a lighted taper. 
The light, which we foon left at a diftance, en- 
groifed their whole attention ; but they durft not 


3l6 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [17^2- 

come nearer to it than about 200 toifes. It was 
amufing enough to hear the two chiefs addrefs 
long fpeeches to the taper. They fpoke with 
much warmth, iuppofing, no doubt,|that one of 
us was coming towards them with this Hght. 
Chagrined, perhaps, at its filence, which formed 
fo direct a contrail to their babbUng noife, they 
returned in about two hours towards their ifland. 
Fires were all the while kept burning upon the 
beach, perhaps to ihow the canoes the place to 
which they were to return. 

We lay to all the night. 

August lil'. In the morning we faw the 
weflern extremity of that little infular group, 
which extends about fifteen leagues from eaft to 
weft. The moll weflern ifland is in 2<^ 1 1^ 36'' 
fouth latitude, and in 143° 4/' dS" eaft longitude. 

Reefs and fand-banks extended beyond them 
8,000 toifes towards the fouth-wx(l. 

We foon came in fight of other reefs, which 
were 5,000 toifes in extent from eaft to weft. 
They are fituated in 2° 13^ fouth latitude, and 
143° 40^eaft longitude. 

We carried a little fail towards W. N. W. 
during the night. 

At day-break we had fight of the Hermit 
iflands, difcovered in 1781, by the Spanifli frigate 
the Princefta, which faw them at the diftance of 


Aug.] of la perouse. 317 

about 25,000 toifes. Their high lands leemed, 
at a diftance, to leave intervals between them fuf- 
ficient to afford us a paffage ; but we foon per- 
ceived their low-lands advancing into the fea, and 
diftinguifhed the reefs which conne6led them to- 

That little clufter is compofed of thirteen fmall 
iflands, having in the middle, like the Admiralty 
Iflands, a principal one, extending from fouth- 
weft to north-eaft by eaft, about 15,000 toifes. 
The illets which furround it on all fides, except 
the fouth, are very fmall and very low. 

We were 10,000 toifes to the northward of 
thofe iflands, and to the leeward of the northern 
point of the great ifland, when we faw fome ca- 
noes under fail. They were behind the reefs, in 
which we faw no opening through which they 
could pafs, and we believed that they could not 
furmount fuch obftacles ; but, having come clofe 
to the reefs, they took in their fail, and, going 
into the water, they carried their veffels fairly over 
the rocks into the open fca. 

The canoe which was firfl got over fleered 
towards our fhip, and the reft, being five in 
number, prefently followed ; but as their motions 
were flow, they -^ were foon nearer to the Efpe- 
rance, which was in our vv ake, and they advanced 
towards her. After man(^uvring with much in- 

31 d VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 7Q2, 

telligence to bring tlieir fail into a proper por- 
tion, they ftill chofe to keep at the diftance of 
about 1 00 toifes. All the means erripioyed to 
bring them alongfide were ineffectual ; but they 
Tvent near enough to throw fome apples of the 
Jpondtas cythereay and feveral other fruits of dif- 
ferent fpecies of the eugen'ta, all very proper to be 
eaten. The bottles and bits of ftuff given to them 
were received with marks of the greatefl fatis- 
fa(5tion ; but it W'as furprizing to obferve that they 
had little value for iron. 

Like all the other natives wx had hitherto met 
"with, they appeared extremely defnous that we 
fhould land on their ifiand. 

One of the canoes advanced towards our fhip, 
w^hile the reft returned to the fhore. Notwith- 
ftanding our invitations, thofe natives kept at 
the diftance of 150 toifes from us. They durft 
not touch the different articles which we fent 
them with a view to gain their confidence. 
Some, however, appeared defirous that their ca- 
noe fhould be fteered towards our prefents in or- 
der to get poffeffion of them ; but the fentiment 
of fear prevailed among the majority. 

It w^as noon before we refumed our courfe. All 
the canoes followed us for fome time before they 
returned to our ifland. That which approached 
the nearefl to our Ihip accompanied us w ith the 


Aug.] of la perouse. 319 

greatefl: perfeverance. It was a very large canoe* 
manned by thirty people, who all appeared more 
robuft than the inhabitants of the Admiralty 
Iflands, and of the fame complexion. 

Thofe natives advanced towards us with very 
pacific views ; for they were not furnifhed with 
arms ; and, from on board the Efperance, to 
which they approached much nearer than to our 
fhip, no weapons were obferved even in the bot- 
toms of the canoes. Perhaps they thought that 
by this means they might induce us to land. 

Thofe canoes, though fimilar in appearance to 
thofe of the Admiralty Iflands, were not nearly 
fiich good failers. That which came nearcfl to us 
had at firfl: but one fail ; but they fet another 
abaft it, in order to follow us. This after- fail 
was much fm.aller than the forward one ; and 
they were both in the form of a redlangle, the 
length of which was almoft double its breadth. 
They were trimmed like the fquare fails of our 
long boats. 

Their large fail was as much raifed as that of 
the canoes we faw at the Admiralty Iflands, and 
defcended lower, fo as to offer a greater furface 
to the wind. 

The whole of the Hermit Iflands, including 
the reefs, occupy a fpace about twelve leagues in 



circuit, the centre of which is in 1° 35^ 38" fouth 
latitude, and 142° 41^ call longitude. 

In the evening we were very near the moft 
eaftern of that little group, to which General 
Bougainville gave the name of Exchequer Iflands. 

It is very low, and only nine leagues W. S.W/ 
of the Hermit Iflands. The reefs on its north- 
v/efl: fide form a bafm, in which there appeared 
to be water fufficient for anchoring. 

A great number of other iflands were feen from 
north to wefl:. 

We made but little fail during the night, 
while tacking in order to keep to wdndward of 
thofe iflands. 

3d. At day-break the mofl: eafterly of the Ex- 
chequer Iflands bore fouth, difl:ant 5,000 toifes. 
It is in 1° 29' of fouth latitude, and 142° 2f/ of 
eafl: longitude. 

At eight o'clock A. M. we flieered towards 
the wefl: ; and we already reckoned thirty little 
iflands from the N. N. E. to the W. S. W. 

We flieered for that which appeared to be the 
mofl wefterly, to which we approached within 
about 2,500 toifes. It is in 1 "^ 34^ fouth latitude, 
and 142° 10^ eafl longitude. 

All thofe iflands are connected together by 
reefs, which feem to deny all paflage. They are 
very low, and covered with very lofty trees. 


, Aug.] of la perouse. 321 

More iflands came into view as we advanced ; 
and at laft we had light of the moft fouth-weft- 
erly ifland of that little clufter, which is not con- 
nected to the reft by any reef. It is in lat 1° 3Q^ S. 
and in long. 141° 58' E. 

We lay to during the whole night. 

4th. This morning, we faw, towards the fouth, 
a low and very woody ifland, about 8,000 toifes 
in extent. This new ifland was in 1° 31' S. lat. 
and 140° 47' E. longitude. 

We foon difcovered another ifland, ftill lefs 
than, and to the S. W. of, the former, from 
which it is 15,000 toifes. It is equally low, and 
covered with large trees. 

On thofe low iflands near the Equator, the 
trees grow with aftoniflilng rapidity and vigour ;* 
as the atmofphere furniflies them at once with 
extreme heat and moifture. 

Although we had been, for fome days, very 
near the Lyine, and found the heat fufFocating, 
the thermometer had not yet rifen above 24 i°. 

* This is moie particularly true of trees, which are of a 
fpongy texture, as the liik. cotton tree, bombax, the fand-box 
tree, hura, &c. But many of the hard woods, for exam- 
ple, the lignum vita, or gujacum, grow very flowly, and 
hence have been ahnoft extirpated, in all the tropical iflands, 
fully inixabited by Europeans. — Tranjlator. 

Vol. L X We 


We faw large trees floating, which had been 
detached from the low iflands by the waves. One 
of thofe trees adhering to the prow of our fliip^ 
for fome time retarded her motion. 

8th. At five o'clock P. M. being upon the 
Equator, in 1 35° 4^ E. long, we faw a very con- 
fiderable water-fpout, forming in the fouth-weft, 
at the diftance of about 2,000 toifes : although 
the air about us was very tranquil, the waves 
were foaming with agitation, at the place where 
the water-fpout originated, over w hich a very 
fmall cloud hovered, apparently at the diftance oi* 
a few feet. This phoenomenon was in the form 
of two very elongated cones, joined at their fum- 
mits, the bafe of one being upon the fea, and that 
of the other loft in a very thick cloud. 

The clouds appeared to me to be agitated by a 
whirlwind, which having held a great quantity 
of water fufpended, difcharged it agani in tor- 
rents. Perhaps all water-fpouts are formed in 
this manner. If, as fome natural philofophers al- 
ledge, a water-fpout carried up the fca- water, in 
a gteat body, it ought to be as fait in the- moment 
of its defcent, as in that of its afcent, w hich does 
notfcem to ac(^ord with obfervation. A perfon, 
worthy of credit, who faw two water-fpouts fall 
upon a veftcl, afTured me that they difcharged 


Aug.] of la perouse. 323 

fre(h water. On the contrary fuppofition, it would 
not be eafy to explain this phoenomenon.* 

gth. The Umpidity of the fea-water was very 
much diminiflied, during this day, hya. fiicvs, the 
filaments of which were very lo'ofe and lliort. I 
met with it again en the Oth of September, and 
Ihall afterwards fpeak of it more particularly. 

We found fl^arks very numerous in thofe parts. 
We caught feveral of the fpecies fqnalus carcha- 
r'las, which is the moll: cxtenfively difFufed through 
the ocean. One of them, of a moderate fize, 
aftoriifhed us by its voracity. Although lacerated 
by four hooks, which it had taken within the 
fpace of half an hour, it followed us, till it was 
hooked fuccefs fully. f 

Being near New Guinea, and but eight mi- 
nutes diilant from the Line, the therniometer 
only indicated 25*^, although w^e fuffered a heat 
much more oppreffive than that which is expe- 
rienced in Europe, when the thermometer is at 

* It is not very eafy to give, a fatisfa£lory explanatloa 
of this phoenomenon, upon any principles; though tl^i^fe 
of eledlricity feem to aft'ord, or rather to proniiie, the moit 
probable folution of it. — Tranjlator. 

t I knew a iimilar inllance, in one of thofe monilers., 
which was eighteen feet in length. It was luppofed to be 
tlie fame which had devoured a rnan, fome days before it 
was taken. Its liver hung up in a iiet dropped about ten 
gallons of oil. — Tranjlator. 

X 2 the 

324 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1792., 

the fame elevation.* In obferving that that in- 
ftruiTient is a very uncertain meafure of fenfible 
heat, 1 ought to apprize the reader that / ahvays 
fpeak of ike merainal ihermometer of Remimtir. 

lith. This day, the Efperance ran foul of us, 
being the fixth accident of this kind, fmce wx left 
Europe. She broke the foot rope of her fprit- 
fail yard, on the fore part of our rigging." For- 
tunately we kept the frigates afunder, by placing 
a boom between them. As it was a dead calm, 
we put out two boats, to tow the Ihips ftill far- 
ther from each other. -f- The boats, at tlie fame 
time, obfervcd the dire<ftion of the current, which 
carried us to the N. N. E. at the rate of half a 
knot in the hour. 

12th. At day-break, we had fight of the largeft 
of Schouten's lilands, bearing S. i S. W. 

The furface of the water was violently agitated, 
in a large Ipace, through Vvhich the Efperance 
had occahon to pafs, in profecuting her courfe. 
Fearing that it was caufed by breakers, flie put 

* I have very fenfibly experienced the fame efFeft myfelf. 
Is it owing to the greater quantity of water, which the air, 
conjiantly heated, holds in foiution in tropical climates ? — 

* The difficulty of keeping Ihips afunder in a calm, is 
commonly, and veiy properly, given as an inflance of the 
mutual attraction of bodies. — Tranfiator. 


Aug.] of la perouse. 325 

about; but the deception foon ccafcd. This 
motion was produced by a large Ilioal ot fiihes, 
fwimming near the furface, and which was puT- 
fued by a great number ot birds. 

Although it was now the feafon of the eaftcrn 
monfoou, the winds blew, for four days, from 
the fouth-wefi: to the north- weft; but on the 
14th, they refumed their fouth-eaft direction. 

The fame day, we faw a little ifland, very 
near New Guinea, and vvhich is 10,000 toifes 
diftant from the ill^iid of Providence. That 
little illand is in 2'' \ 8' 4S" S. iat. and 133^ 8' Af 
E. longitude. 

The incelTant and great heats inthofe latitudes, 
accelerated the decompoiition of our water, which 
was fo much the worfe, as that to the ufe of 
w^hich we were by that time reduced, wasfome- 
what brackilh. For the water which we hrft 
took in at Carteret harbour, was taken up too 
near the fea, and had been preferved, notwith- 
ftandmg its bad quality. Befules, that the baliaft 
may not be diminifhed, it is ufual to fill the 
empty butts with fait- water, which ought to be 
well rinfed out, before they arc again hiled with 
frelh. But the boatfwain's mate, wtio had the 
charge of the water, did not take fo much trouble. 
It was eafy to free the water from its inflammable 

X 3 air, 


air, by the machine, which I have already de- 
fcribed ; but it always retained a brackifh tafte. 

18th. A ftorm had howled, for a part of the 
niglit, on the coaft of New Guinea, and had 
given us a great quantity of rain. The iky 
feemed to announce a tempcil ; but the ftorms, 
near the Equator, are more menacing, than really 
formidable,* and we foon enjoyed a very clear 

Vv'e faw afine chain of mountains v^'hich ranged 
towards the eaft. The higheit of them appeared 
to be at leaft 750 toifes in perpendicular altitude. 
The large trees, with which they were covered, 
added greatly to the pi6lurefque appearance of the 

JQth. Being in 0^ 1 8^ fouth latitude, and 430° 
52^ eaft longitude and 1,000 toifes diftant from 
New Guinea, we founded with one hundred fa- 
thoms of line, but found no bottom. 

The fxrft indication we had of the inhabitants 
of that ifland, was the fmoke of two fires, which 
rofe from among the large trees near the coafr. 

We were then near the promontory of New 

* Should not the Author have excepted, at leaf!:, the hurri- 
canes at Amboynu, mentioned beiow (Oft. 14.) not to fpcak 
ofthofe, which too often rage in the Weft Indies? — TranJ. 


Aug.] of la perouse. 327 

Guinea, which is called the Cape of Good Hope, 
and which we doubled at the diftance of 1,000 
toifes. It is 0'^ 20^ fonth latitude, and 130^34' 
eaft longitude. We were furprised that Foreft, 
in other refpecls an accurate navigator, fliould 
have ih much miftaken its true latitude ; for that 
which he gave, differed from ours more than 20' 
towards the north. 

The variation of the compafs, after a gradual 
diminution was now but 1° 30' eaft. 

We were prevented by calms from coalling 
along New Guinea, till a fea-breeze fprang up, 
about three o'clock P. M. The fhore was gene- 
rally broken and rocky : ^but we obferved fome 
fandy fpots, of a gentle declivity, which prefented 
convenient landing places. 

21ft. On the morning of this day we were 
very near the two little iflands of Mifs Palu. The 
leaft of them is in O^ 2o' foutli latitude, and in 
130^ 7' eaff longitude. The largeft is in o'' 19' 
57" fouth latitude, and 3 30^ 4' 30'' call: longitude. 

23d. We fleered clofe to the Ihore of New 
Guinea, with an intention to enter among the 
Moluccas, by Watfon's Strait. It w'ould have 
been agreeable to us to explore that ftrait, which 
is much iefs frequented than thofe further to the " 
w^eftward. Beiides, we would have had the advan- 
tage of keeping more to the windward, than by 

X 4 paffing 


paffing through Pitt's Straits, which the conti- 
nuation of the fouth winds induced us to take. 

About eleven o'clock in the morning, being to 
the north- weft, and very near it," we found that 
w^e were upon a fhoal, which extends more than 
5,000 toifes from the coaft of Bantana. We were 
ftrongly intangled in it, when the lead indicated 
eight fathoms water, rocky bottom. It was a 
bank of coral, which the tranfparency of the 
w^ater difplayed in all its whitenefs. We were 
obliged to go about, in order to extricate our- 
felves from fo dangerous a fituation. 

W^e entered the ftraits about half an hour paft 
two P. M. A canoe which we faw at the en- 
trance near the coaft of Bantana, at one time ap- 
peared to us to be making for the Efperance ; 
but it foon haftened towards the land. 

Playing lain to for fome time to wait for the 
Efpeiance, we obfervcd that the current cairied 
us very rapidly through the ftrait. The tides very 
mr.'ch influence thofe currents, which, about mid- 
night, and early the next morning, were very con- 
fide r ably abated. 

Five canoes Vvcre failing along the eafterri 
ihoYc, at a good diitancc iiom one another. We 
obfervcd, that one of them had a fla;;- hoifted, we took to be Portuguefe. The wind was 
carrying us tov/ards the coaft of Salwaty, and ' 


Aug.] of la perouse. 32q 

hindered us from fleering for thofe canoes. Be- 
fides, none of them feemed inclinable to meet us. 
Thefe people did not know our intentions ; and 
perhaps they were apprehenfive that we w^ere of 
the number of thofe Europeans, whofe avarice 
induces them to employ every fiiratagem to en- 
trap them, in order to m/ake llaves of them. 

High lands, every where covered with large 
trees, border the Straits of Pitt. 

We lay to all night. At nine o'clock we heard 
from the weliern ihorc the voice of fome nati\es3 
who feemed to addrefs us. At the f&mc time a 
fire appeared on the weftern point of the en- 
trance, about the place from whence a canoe 
came oiF, when we entered the ftrait. 

24th, Al day break we were very near PaiTage 
l{[?.nd, and we obferved on the coafl of Bantana, 
a little village, the inhabitants of which feemed 
to view us witii much indifference. 

The Strait of Pitt extends about 2,5000 toifes 
from W. S. W. to E. N. E., and its mean breadth 
is about 5,000 toiles. On heaving the lead from 
on board our ihip, no bottom was found with fe- 
venty-five fathoms of line. But the boat, at 100 
toifes from the fnorc, had from fifteen to eighteen 
fathoms of water, the bottom being calcareous 
rock. , I 

We went about, in order to avoid fome fhoals 


330 TOt'AGE IM SEARCH [l70--' 

which we obferved;, on leaving the lirait, veiy 
near the coaft of Bantana. But feveral penons 
w^re of opinion, that there was water enough 
to carry over both the iliips. 

The opening of the ftrait on this end is near 
15,000 toifes 'in breadth. We obferved in it two 
little iflands, very near the Bantana iliore. 

The w'eftern point of Salwaty was found in l'^^ 
2' 10^' S. lat., and 128° 32-' E. Icngitude. 

The conftancy of the wind from S..S. E, de- 
prived ns of all hope of getting round Mixoal 
iiland to the eaftward. We were therefore obliged 
to endeavour to make the north of Ceram, in or- 
der to get round J by the weftern extremity ,of 
that iiland, to Amboyna. 

About fix o'clock P. M. we were 15,000 toifes 
diftant from the ifland of Popo, which bore 
S. e'' W. 

The next day we fteered with that ifland on our 
ftarboard, diftant about 8,000 toifes. It prefent- 
ed a flatfurface, in the midft of which rofe three 
hills, near one another. We had a near view of 
fome little iilands to the fouth-weft, and which 
extend nearly from the north -eaft, to the fouth- 

The ifland of Fopo is ni l^ g' 14" S. lat., and 
12/*' 40'' E. longitude. 

We faw the iflands of Canary and Mixoal, 


Sept.] of la perouse. , 331 

With part of the little iilands which furround 

This morning we loft a young failor of the 
name of Pichot, who died in a ftate o( marafmns, 
the conlequence of a dy-er tery, under \vhich he 
had laboured for iiX months. 

2()th. This day the pofition of Canary liland 
w\as foiuid to be in 1^51' 3G" S. lat., and ]27^ 
35^ E. longitude. 

27th. Oar lliip was this day furronnded with a 
kind of whales, wdiich were from twenty to 
twenty-five feet in length. They were fufficiently 
numerous to afford hihers, by their oil, an ample 
compenfation for their labour and expence. 

2Qth. Very early this morning we came in 
fight of the lofiiy mountains of Ceram, which 
extending from the S. E. to the S. S. W.^ pre- 
fcnted us with a very fine landfcape. 

Such high mountains aifbrd elfed:ual protec- 
tion to the independence of their inhabitants. 
Hence it is, that only a fmall number of the na- 
tives fettled on low parts of the iiland, near the 
fca, endure the tyranny of the Dutch. 

September lit. The clouds havinir been en- 


tirely diffipated from the land of Ceram, we en- 
joyed the magnificent prolpe6l of feveral chains 
Oi mountains running parallel to each other, in 



the direction of eaft and weft. The fine valleys 
which feparate theni;, fupport a Inxuriant vegeta- 
tion, and have the appearance of the grcateft fer- 

We obferved many fires on the ifland of Ceram, 
fome of them upon one of the higheft moun- 
tains, which proves that their fummits arc fre- 
quented by the natives. That mountain appeared 
to us to be at ieaft 1 ,200 toifes in perpendicular 

Availing owrfelves of the calm, we fent a boat 
to afcertain the dire6lion of the current, which 
then fet to the N. E. I E. at the rate of three 
quarters of a knot in the hour. As, among thofe 
illands, the currents depend very much upon the 
tides, it may be fuppofed that their force and 
their direction vary extremely. 

On the approach of night we were about 
1„000 toifes from the coaft of Ceram, which be- 
coming lefs elevated, feemed to indk:ate lefs depth 
of water on its coaft. The lead, however, did 
not reach the bottom with thirty-feven fathoms 
of line. ' 

Soon after this, we faw on the land fide, feveral 
fires, which appeared to have been kindled by 
fiihcrmen, in order to decoy the fiih. 

2d. About noon we defcried the ifland of Bo- 


Sept.] of la perouse. 333 

noa, extending from W. 20^^ S. to S. 48^ W. at 
the diitance oF near 20,000 toifcs. That iflandL 
is in 2® 58^ S. lat., and 125° 56' E. longitude. 

We took care frequently to heave the lead, 
when we were near the land ; but we had no 
foundings with fixty-fix fathoms of line. 

In the evening, a ffcrong land breeze carried us 
into the channel between the iflands of Ceram 
and Bonoa, in which, by moon hght, we ob- 
ferved three fmall iflands. Although it was quite 
calm, the current carried us almoil to the other 
extremity of the channel. 

About midnight, while the air fcarcely moved, 
the wa\'es which foamed very near our fiiip, made 
us apprehenfive that we were approaching to 
breakers. But our alarm was of fliort continu- 
ance, having been only occafioned by the rapid 
current of the tide, which followed the dlred:ion 
of tlie channel, and oppofed our progrefs. 

5 th. We were at a fmall diftance from Kilanjr. 


The General intended to pafs between that ifland 
and Ceram ; but the channel, which at befb is 
but ftrait, appeared to be additionally obfi:rud:ed 
by reefs and a fand bank. We therefore made 
good our pafTage^ very clofe to the well: ward of 
Kilang. The country prefented beautiful plan- 
tations of cocoa-nut and banana trees, encircling: 
a charming village. 


S34 VOYAGE IN SEARCir [1/92- 

We then continued our courfe between Kilang 
and Manipa. 

About eleven o'clock A. M. the current of the 
tide raifed a rapid fucceffion of waves, tumbling 
over each other, in wild conflicl. We wxre, in 
fad:, feveral times witneffcs of that phoenomenon, 
■which Dampier and Bougainville compare to the 
current of a large and very rapid river. 

About four P. M. we had doubled the ifland 
of Manipa, which is not more than 2,500 toifes. 
in extent from north to fouth. Though very 
nioun'cainous, tliat ifland appeared to be populous, 
and many canoes were plying along its ftiore. Its 
latitude is 3^ 21' S., and its longitude 125^ 
47' E. 

The ifland of Kilang is in latitude 3^ 1 7' S. 
and longitude 125° 3 1' E. 

4Lh. A breeze which arofe in the ofHng, at ten 
oxlock A, M. favoured our progrefs towards the 
fouth ; and we foon had fight of a part of the 
■weft coaft of Amboyna, bearing S. S. E. 

The fouth wind after v.ards oppofed us, and 
obliged us to tack. 

5th. A very frefh breeze from the fouth-eaft 
put an end to our hopes of gaining our intended 
anchoring place this day. Our fcorbutic pa- 
tients, wdiofc number was rapidly increafmg, and 
whofe condition became daily more alarming, 


Sept."] op la perouse. - 335 

made us ardently wiih for a favourable wind. 
Their diforder had been greatly influenced by the 
perpetual rains at Carteret harbour ; and moft of 
them were affli^ed with great pains in the loins. 
, One of their firfl: fyrnptoms was the appear- 
atice of whitiffi tubercles, frequently as large as a 
pullet's egs^, in different parts of the body, parti- 
-culari)' oi*i the arms, and which were commonly 
Succeeded by others on the lower extremities. 

It was remarkable that the flcins of thofe pa- 
tients were not difcoloured with what are called 
fcurvy fpots, as that difeafe, in hot climates, ra- 
pidly fuffufes the cellular membrane with a lym- 
phatic humour, which fcarccly alters the colour 
of the llvin, 

I mull farther obfer\€, that, although falted 
provifions be one of the principal caufes of the 
fea-fcurvy, yet two of our men, who did not fub- 
fiik on fuch provliions, were violently attacked by 
that diforder. . But one of them worked in the 
hold, the humid and fpoiled air of which is a 
powerful caufo of the malady. 

By means of tacking, we came near enough 
the weftern extremity of Amboyna, to allow us 
to enter the road in the night. By the dired;ion of 
Valentin's plan of it, we kept along its eafterii 
f\de» at the dlftancc of about 510 tolfes. 

As foon as we had pafTed Portuguefe-bay, we 


355 VOYAGE IN SEAItCH [l792. 

brought to, and waited till day light fhould dif- 
covcr to us a proper place to anchor in. 

"6ih. The Efperance had not made fuch pro- 
grefs as our /hip ; but was 5,100 toifes to the 
fouth-wcft of us, at feven o'clock this morning, 
when wc Vv ere within a fmall diftance of the 
principal eflablifhment in the iiland. 

Here I met with t\iQ. fucti^y which I had before 
obferved near New Guinea. ' It refembled very- 
fine tow, croffed by little pieces, fomewhat more- 
than an inch in length ; the filaments are as fine 
as hairs. They are frequently feen united into 
a fort of bundles, and are fo numerous that they 
fully the water in the road. 

General Dentrecafiieaux fent his fecond lieu- 
tenant to wait upon the Governor of Amboyna, 
in order to afk permiffion to Hop at his ifland. 
The Governor immediately fummoned the Coun- 
cil, and gave us leave to come to an anchor ; 
but, as the aft which the fecond lieutenant pre- 
lented to them, in the name of the Commander, 
had not yet been coramanicated to them by the 
government of Batavia, they were inclined to 
impofe conditions on us, to which wc could not 
confent. Yet it was not difficult to make them 
fenfible, that v.-e had anticipated, by feveral 
months, the arrival of their difpatches from Eu- 
rope, which feldom reach Amboyna, till eighteen 


Sept.] of la perouse. 337 

months after their date. It appeared to us, that 
their caution originated in the defire of faving 
themfelves from being blamed by the government 
of Batayia, to which that of Amboyna is fubor- 
dinate ; for as foon as they had adopted regu- 
lations in that refpeft, they rendered us every 
fervice in their povs^er. 

We found that httle ifland much better pro- 
vided than wc could have expected, w^ith every 
article neccflary for the profecution of our voyage. 

A captain in the fervice of the Dutch Eaft 
India Company was fent by the Governor, to point 
out to us a proper anchoring place ; and having 
made fome tacks, we let go our anchor about half 
an hour paft one P. M. in twenty-five fathoms 
water, bottom mud and fand. The tower of Vic- 
tory Fort bore from us E. Q*^ N. the neareft re- 
doubt W. 35^^ S. and the wcftern point of the 
entrance of the road, W. 26° 30^ S. We were 
about 340, toifes from the. landing place, a 
wooden wharf, near which there is water for 
large fliips. One of the Company's fhips then 
lay at it, taking in a cargo of cloves. 

At the fame time there were in the road ;:igh- 
teen veflels under Dutch colours ; but only one 
'fliip : mofc of the reft were brigs and floops. 

The Efperance came to an anchor half an hour 
after us, and bore N. E. I N. of our polition. 

Vol. I. y CHAP. 



Stay at Amhqyna — A Cahm-Boy helougmg to the 
Recherche, is accicle?itally drowned — Ki/tt to the 
Governor — Different Excutjions into the Interior 
of the IJland — One of the Naturalifts falls dange- 
roufly ill — Defer ipt'ion of his Dlforder — Agreeable 
Liquor furnfJied by the Sago Palm — Sugar ex- 
trailed frojH It — Vfes of the different Parts of 
that valuable Tree — Means by which the Flying 
Dragon ffialns Itfelfln the Air — Explanation of 
Mate, which preferves the Crops from being plun- 
dered — A Dutch Sailor fees Into the Tf^oods for 
fear of bemgfe?it to Batavla — Dextrous Ma7iner 
of catching the Cancer Carcinus — Cabins of the 
Natives of Amboyna — Their Cloathlngy &c. — 
Their Method of procurhig Fire; and of Fflihig 
m the Night-— Culture of Nutmegs and Cloves — 
A long Bamboo cut fo as, with a brlfk Gale, to 
emit a very agreeable Sotind — Flfherles of the 
Inhabitants — A Sago-JVork — Extra5llon of Its 
fcecula — Dlfeafes commoji at Amboyna — Various 
Refie5ilons on the IJland and Its Inhabitants. 

AT half an hour paft three o'clock we faluted 
the place with nine guns, and the" fame 
number was immediately returned. 


Sept.] of la perouse. 339 

The Commander had engaged all his officers 
to accompany him, about five in the evening, on 
a vifit to the Governor. As I knew nothing of this 
appointment, I landed, along with fome perfons 
belonging to our fhip, to view the town. It is 
encircled with gardens, in which trees are chiefly 
cultivated ; becaufe they favour the indolence 
natural to man in a fultry climate, and afford him 
a profufion of fruits, with little other trouble than 
that of gathering them. 

Befides the kind of wild bread-fruit tree which 
we met with there, the inhabitants alTured us that 
there was another which bore a fruit, the feeds 
of which all mifgive ; but that the fruit was only 
of a middling fize, and the tree did not produce a 
great quantity of it. 

Several kinds of banana trees, and many varie- 
ties of oranges grow in thofe charming gardens ; 
and they produce delicious guavas, papaws, and 
different fpecies of pine-apples faiionesj. We 
obferved there fome fpecimens of the lawfofiia 
Inermis, which rofe to the height of ten or twelve 

Different odoriferous plants were profafely 

Scattered around. We there found the chalcas pa- 

- 7ucidata, the tnicUelia cliampaca and tjiampaca, and 

feveral fpecies of the uvaria. The Arabian jef- 

farnine, iiydanthes famhac, rifmg amidft thofe 

Y 2 charmino- 


340 VOtA.GE IN SEARCH [l792* 

charming trees, mixed its fweet odour with their 
delightful perfumes. 

On our return into the town, one of the pro- 
teftant minifters conduced us to his houfe, where 
he entertained us with feveral forts of fpirituous" 
liquors. But limpid water, jufh drawn from the 
fpring, was the moft agreeable draught to perfons, 
who had long been confined to brackifli water and 
falted provifions. This excellent minifter ap- 
peared to be much furprifed at our being regaled 
at fo fmall an expence. He informed us that 
earthquakes were frequent at Amboyna, and that 
fome years ago one, among others, had been very 
forcibly felt; that it was accompanied with a 
hurricane w^hich continued nearly three days, 
during which time the fca had overflowed, and 
inundated the around on wdiich the town 




This calamity is the moft to be dreaded at the 
change of the monfoons, and particularly at the 
commencement of the weftern monfoon, which 
takes place, in thofe latitudes, in the month of 

7th. One of the cabin-boys, of the name of Ga- 
briel Abalen, who ferved the table of the marine 
officers, difappeared on the night of the /th. He> 
had been obferved to be on board all day ; but 
after dark was called feveral times in vain. He 


Sept.] of la perouse, 34i 

was a good-natured young man, and in general 
very temperate ; but, during that day, had drunk 
fo much ftrong liquor, as to juftify ierious appre- 
henfions concerning him. He probably fell over- 
board, and it v, as known that he could not fwim. 

All of us had much need of remaining on 
lliore, in order to recover our ftrength ; and the 
Governor gave us leave to take lodgings in the 

8th. It was a matter of importance to the na^ 
turaliils to be acquainted with the Governor of 
Amboyna, in order that he might facilitate the 
refearches which formed the objed: of their mii^ 
iion. It w as, no doubt, owing to pure forgetful- 
nefs, that the Commander of our expedition did 
not make us acquainted wath the hour of his jSrft 
Tifit to the Governor. But I requciled him to 
favour us with an introduction, and we accord- 
ingly fet out for that purpofe, about half an hour 
paft fix. M. Bourguelles and M. Van Smiehl 
preffed themfelves upon us as our interpreters. 

M. Van Smiehl was a German Baron, who 
had lately arrived in the ifland. He was then 
but afpiring, as he expreiTed it, to be a fervant of 
the Dutch Eaft India Company. In the fequel, 
we had reafon to felicitate ourfelves that he had 
not much influence on the Governor ; for he had 
attempted to perfuade him, that the Kegency of 

Y 3 Batavia 

342 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

Batavia would not approve of our fhips being al- 
lowed to remain at Amboyna. Yet the Baron 
very well knew that, in the preceding year, two 
fmall Englilh veffels, fitted out at Bombay for 
the Pelew Iflands, had been received without the 
leafh difficulty. They had firft put in at Bouroti ; 
but, finding no provifions there, had been per- 
mitted to fhip fome at Amboyna ; and thofe vef- 
fels were far from having fo good a title as we 
bad to fuch indulgence. But, perhaps, the ap- 
pearance of foreign veiTels in that road, for two 
years fucceffively, made it necefiary for the Go- 
vernor to take every precaution, in order to fave 
his refponfibiiity. He received us very favour- 
ably ; but we were unhappy that he appeared in 
his ceremonial drefs on our account; for he was 
oppreficd with heat, under a very heavy coat of 
black velvet. Such garments are extremely in- 
commodious near the Line, but the Dutch Go- 
vernors wear them, as a prerogative annexed to 
their ftation. 

Some refrefiiment was offered to us. I wiihed 
for nothing but water, and I poured out that 
which appeared the moil limpid ; but its faltifh 
tafte made me think that the domeftics had, by 
miftake, brought me fome medicinal water. It 
was in fa6l Seltzer-water, which the Dutch here 
iifually drink as an agreeable potation; and it cofts 


Sept.] of la perouse. 343 

them as much as the beft rheniili wine. Surely 
they were not aware of our repugnance to fuch 
a beverage ; yet they might have fuppofed that, 
in a torrid cUmate, and after a long privation of 
frefli provifions, w^e would not be very fond of 
fwallowing fait water. 

The General propofed to introduce us to the 
members o£ the Council alfo, to which we readily 
aflented; and they gave us a very kind reception. 

loth. As we intended to remain at Amboyna, 
for a month at the leaft, I had conveyed to the 
place where we were to lodge, many things ne- 
ceiTary for the preparation of the different pror 
du6lions, which I intended to colled, in the ifland. 
The other naturalifts and I had agreed to live in 
the fame houfe. It w^as already prepared for our 
reception, and our things had been carried into it, 
when, to our great aftonifliment, we found it oc- 
cupied by fome officers from the two fhips, who, 
however, knew very well that we had taken the 
houfe ; but the man who had the key thought 
that they belonged to our party. The gentle- 
men made themfelves very merry with this piti- 
ful trick, of which we did not think them ca- 
pable; but it was eafy for us to find other lodgings. 

Our apprehenfions refped;ing the cabin-boy, 
who had difappeared three days before, were but 

Y 4 too 

344 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l702. 

too well founded. His body had remained at the 
bottom of the water all that time ; but, about half 
an hour paft two in the afternoon, it was feen 
floating near the (hip. This fmall diftance from 
the place where he had fallen into the fea feemed 
to prove, contrary to the opinion of moft of the 
Europeans fettled at Amboyna, that the rapidity 
of the currents in the road is confined to the fur- 
face merely, and does not reach the bottom, a 
circumftance which, for other reafons, appears to 
me very probable. In fadl the currents are deter- 
mined by the tides, pouring their waters into and 
out of the road, only to reflore their equilibri- 
um, which, in thefe circumftances, is dillurbed 
to but a fmall depth from the furface. 

This young man was much regretted by all the 
fliip's company. Many exclaimed againfi: the 
carelelTnefs of thofe, who had had the charge of 
him in his early years, in neglecting to inftru6t 
him in fwimming. A few lefTons in that art 
w^ould have faved the lad's life ; and it is to be 
wifhed that his fate may ferve as an example to 
others ; for I have obferved with affconiftiment, 
tliat many of the failors cannot fwim. 

Our obfervatory was this day eflablifhed, in the 
weftern part of the town. As it could not be 
feen from the fhip, it was found inconvenient to 


Sept.] of la perouse. 345 

be obliged to go upon the beach, in order to com* 
pare the motion of the watches with that of the 

This weftern part of the town, in which wc 
alfo refidcd, formed the Chinefe quarter, in which 
there are few natives of the ifland, and only one 
Dutchman. The reft of the Dutch inhabit the 
centre of the town, or its ea.ftern part. 

Our ftrcngth was fo reduced, that we were 
obliged to content ourfelves, for fome days, with 
fliort excurfions from the town. 

We viewed the garden of the Company, where 
there is nothing remarkable but a very convenient 
bath, which the Governor viiited regularly every 
third or fourth day. It is fupplied with very pure 
water from a neighbouring hill. Near it is an- 
other bath appropriated to theufeofthe women. 

The Dutch at Amboyna are in the habit of 
bathing every third or fourth day, when they care- 
fully avoid expofmg themfelves to the exceffive 
heat, which prevails from eleven in the morning 
till three in the afternoon. Indeed they are fel- 
dom feen abroad during thofe hours on other 
days. For our parts, we had not leifure to take fo 
many precautions ; and accordingly two of the 
naturalifts were attacked with dangerous difor- 

Wc many times endeavoured to penetrate into 



the large plantations of fago trees ; but the water 
with which they are floated often forced iis to 
abandon the attempt. That tree, fo ufeful for 
the fupport of man, forms a part of the riches of 
the ifland. 

The flat ftrand, at low water, is covered in 
many places with a multitude of crabs, of the 
foecies denominated cancer volans, which thqn 
emerge from the holes which they dig in the foft 
ground. This Angular creature, one of whofe 
claws is fometimes larger than its body, often be- 
comes the prey of birds. I believe the facility 
With which its claws are disjoined from its body 
is the reafon why one of them is almofl always 
much lar2:er than the other.* 

A little excurfion to the fouth of the town, 
near the quarter inhabited by the Europeans, 
brought us to the tomb of Rumphius. The fim- 
plicity of this monument reminded us of the 
manners of that able obferver of nature. It was 
encircled with the beautiful fhrub, known by the 
name oi panax fruticofiim. 

* The great difproportion of the claws to the body, and 
to one another, is more probably a diflin£live charafterillic 
of this curious fpecies of crab. I have feen many thoufands 
of them ; but never an individual in which this difpropor- 
tion did not exift. Places lituated to leeward of the muddy 
flilt-flats, in which thofe creatures breed, are juflly reckoned 
extremely infalubiious. — Tranjlator. 


Sept.] or la perouse. 347 

Wc faw, in the hands of fomc natives, the 
pretty /orry of the Phihppines. Thefe, however, 
were not procured from fo great a diftance, but 
from fome illands a Httle to the eaftward of Am- 
boyna, and chiefly thofe of Arrou. They had 
alfo another fpccics of the lorry, w^hich breeds in 
the forefts of Amboyna, and which differs from 
the former in its colours, which are lefs vivid, 
and not fo beautifully blended. Moft of thofe par- 
rots pronounced fome words of the Malayan lan^ 

Towards noon, the heat of the fun afFed:ed us 
with fuch a head-ach, as forced us almoft always 
to retire to fome Ihade, in order to defend our- 
felves from his dlre6l rays. 

Very early on the morning of the 15th we pro- 
ceeded towards the weft ; but about mid-day the 
heat was fo very oppreffive, that we were obliged 
to return home. 

The naturalift who did the duty of chaplain, 
became fo dangeroully ill, that we could not leave 
him a fmgle moment for four fucceffive days. 
The iymptoms of the malignant fever, with 
which he was attacked, were very dreadful. • His 
ftools were extremely fetid, and accompanied 
with frequent vomitings, ftarting of the tendons, 
a fmall pulfe and great proftration of ftrength. 
The nervous afFedion of the patient came to fuch 

a height. 


a Beigbt, that every evacuation was attended with 
a degree of wcaknefs which deprived him of re- 
colIc(5lion, His lower extremities were affeded 
with violent fpafms^ which occaiioned very great 

Although the diieafe was exceedingly infec- 
tious, no danger ought to have prevented us from 
paying to our diftrelTed fiiip-mate, all the atten- 
tion which he had a right to expe<5l from our 
friendihip ; and accordingly wc fufpended our re- 
fearches in natural hiilory, till we fliould fee him 
out of danger. 

lOth. The nczt day the Symptoms became ftill 
more alarming. The pulfe more and more de- 
preiTed, vvith frequent intermiffions in its motion, 
the hiccups, fometimes continued for half a quar- 
ter of an hour, a great proftration of flrength and 
an appearance altogether difcompofed, made us 
entertain ferious apprehenfions for the life of our 

In the night, the fy mptoms were equally 

About break of day, on the 1 /th, the pulie 
ienfibly increafed, and a certain flexibility in the 
ftroke of the artery, afforded us the happy prefage 
of an abundant perfpiration^ which accordingly 
fucceeded in a few hours, and fnatched our friend 
from the gates of death. 



He was in a ftate of convalefcence not more 
than eight days. 

This fpecies of fever, occafioned by ftagnant 
■waters, in a tropical climate, was treated with 
diluting draughts and antifpafniodics. Ether 
given frequently, and in fmall dofes, had a ten- 
dency to fupport the ftrength of the patient, 
w^hile it moderated the violence of the fymptoms. 

M. Holiman, furgcon of the military hofpital, 
vifited our patient feveral times a day. Our 
chief furgeon alfo regularly attended him. 

M. Bourguelles, the Company's treafurer, per- 
fuaded the Commander of our expedition, that 
the united llvill of all the phyficians in Europe, 
was not equal to that of a Malay doelor, in the 
treatment of fuch difeafes. One of the moft able 
of them was therefore called in. He did not 
propofe to perform the cure by internal remedies ; 
for he gave the patient nothing to take ; but 
after rubbing flightly the ikm of different parts 
pf the body, and properly adjufting the lower ex- 
tremities, he pronounced, with a myfterious air, 
ibme words, which he feemed to addreis to the 
Supreme Being. Then he conjured, as we were 
told, the evil fpirits, whom thofe iflanders look 
upon as the authors of difeafes. M. Bourguelles 
was overjoyed to fee the dod:or operate in his beft 
manner, in order to obtain the defired {uccefs. 


350 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l /92* 

We allowed him to do every thing, from which 
no bad confequences could refult ; but it was our 
bufinefs to interrupt his operations, when he was 
proceeding to foufe the patient, with a pail of 
water, newly drawn from the well. It was but a 
very little time before the critical fweat, which 
terminated in his recovery. 

The Malay do6lor doubtlefs placed all his fcl- 
ence in this experiment ; but he did not know 
that it would have fupprelfed the critical perfpi- 
ration, of which the pulfe had given us the happy 

Our patient was fufficiently recovered on the 
IQth, no longer to require fuch affiduous care. 
We therefore proceeded weftward into the coun- 
try. After having long followed the courfe of a 
little river, which runs into the harbour at afhort 
diftance from the town, we were returning with 
a load of fine plants, when, at the approach of 
night, we met fome native fifhermen who had 
been equally fortunate, in their way, and who 
were proceeding to broil their fifh. We had the 
pleafure of feeing them light up their fire, by 
means of two pieces of bamboo, rubbed againfl 
each other, after being cut in a manner which I 
ihall prefently explain. 

20th. We employed half of the day in an ex- 
curiion towards the foutli ; and we made hafle to 


Sept.] op la perouse. 351 

afcend a hill, where we found fome young na- 
tives fetting fnares to catch birds. They confill- 
ed of hairs formed into noofes and tied to a very 
long rope, which lay on the ground, and was 
faftened to a wooden peg driven into the earth. 

I fuppofed that they made ufe of baits to attrad; 
the game ; but they told me that they did not, 
and at the fame time confeiTed, that they caught 
but few birds. 

At the bottoms of the hills, we obfcrved the 
fine palm w^hich the natives call the fago tree, 
and which Rumphius has defcribed (vol. i. fig. 
13,) under the ncime o£ Jiiguems. From the 
pedicles of the boughs f regimes J of this tree, when 
newly cut, a very agreeable liquor oozed, whicli- 
was received in pieces of bamboo, tied to their 
extremities. In fo hot a climate, this liquor very 
quickly ferments, and would become acid, if the 
inhabitants did not add to it fome of the wood of 
the Jbulamea, which, by the fermentation, is en- 
tirely freed from its bitter tafte, and preferves the 
liquor a long time. 

One of thefe palms may yield daily, for above 
two months in the year, from a gallon and a half 
to two gallons of this liquor. In order to faci- 
litate its efflux, the incifions of the pedicles are 
daily renewed. 

As the heat of the fun favours the afcenilon 


352 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

of the fap, one would naturally fuppofe that the 
tree would yield a greater quantity of this liquor 
during the day than during the night. The fa6t, 
however, is quite otherwife, for the humidity 
■which is abforbed by the leaves in the night, 
mixing w^th the juice, increafes its apparent quan- 
tity ; but that v/hich is obtained during the day 
contains much more of the faccharine principle, 
which is to be extradled. 

This extract forms a kind of fiigar, which the 
Malays Ccdl goulaifan (black fugar.) It is com- 
monly met with in fmall loaves, vs^hich retain 
the fhape of the hemifpherical veffels, in which 
the redundant water is evaporated. Its colour 
approaches to that of chocolate ; but it is deeper. 
On breaking thofe little loaves, there appear, efpe- 
cially tow^ards the centre, yellowifh fhining grains, 
a circumftance which renders it probable, that 
there would be no great difficulty to bring it to 
the degree of cryftallization, neceflary to convert 
it into fugar of a good quality. Such as it is, the 
natives fcarcely ufe any other, that v/hich is ex- 
tracted from the fugar- cane being fold for feven 
or eight times the price. 

From this aimoft exclufive ufe of the goula 
itan, one w^ould be apt to conclude, that the 
fugar- cane was not produced in the ifland. Ai- 
moft all the inhabitants, however, devote fmall 



portions of their gardens to this valuable plant ; 
but they content themfelves with regaling on its 
juice, which they exprefs by maftication. 

In addition to the agreeable and wholefomc 
liquor afforded by this fine palm, the leaves (or 
I'lmhs*^ are adorned, towards the bafe, with fila- 
ments which the natives convert into good cor- 
dage. From the form and black colour of thofe 
filaments, one would take them, at the firft fight, 
for horfe-hair, but they are alm.ofl twice as large. 
The young fruit, prepared with fugar, m.akes an 
excellent comfit. 

Some fractures in the earth near the bottoms 
of the hills, difclofcd to our view the hard, clear, 
^YtjJIeatite, which forms their bafes. 

22d. In an excurfion which I made to the 
fouth-wefl:, I found many rocks of very friable 
Jchijius, of a light grey colour, and near a very 
hard fpecies of ajbejios. 

One would be apt to imagine, that, in an ifland 
fo little removed from the Equator, the prepara- 
tion of the fubje6ts of natural hiflory would be 

* The French word is feui lies. But the Englifli ufe the 
word iimb, for the fhoots of the cocoa-nut tree, the cabbage 
tree and other fpecies of pahn; and very properly : they 
arc too large to be called leaves, and, being deciduous, can- 
not be called branches, in the ordinary fenfe of that terni. 
■ — Tranjlator. 

Vol. L Z fmgularly 

354 VOYAGE I^ SEARCH [l/Q^, 

' fingularly facilitated by a quick deficcation. The 
contrary, however, was fo much the cafe, that I 
was obliged to make great exertions to favethe 
fruits of my botanical harvelt fron:i ruin. In fac^, 
the air, in paffing over tlie waters of the ocean, 
becomes charged with a degree of humidity, 
which greatly injures fuch preparations, and the 
heat of the climate quickly dcftroys tliofe plants 
which are moil retentive of their juices. 

23d. At four in the morning, we directed our 
courfe towards the caft. 

We had fevcral times to crofs the beautiful ri- 
vulet, known by the name of Vai-Tom.on, which 
enters the fea a little to the caftward of the town. 
Its banks were covered with a srreat number ot 
plants, among which arc feveral fpccies of the 
jii/Jixn. I obfcrvcd on the furface of the brook^ 
the fpecics diftinguiflicd by the name of thej?//- 
ficca tenclla ; and I admired the precaution taken 
by nature for its prcfervation, in difpofng along 
the ftalk large oval tubercles, filled v»'ith air, to 
make the plant A^lm. Thofe veficles are but 
litt'ic different from tljc air-bladders, Vvith which 
mofl fiiii are furniilicd ; only in tins initance, 
each vcficle is compofed of a great number of 
linaller ones ; bccaufe otherwife they would be 
in danger of being deltroyed, by the shocks of 
the different bodies brought down by the llream. 


Sept.] of la perouse. 355 

Notwithftanding the iliade of the furrounding 
trees> the elxcdrpus monogyniis was covered, even 
to its loweil branches, with fine flowers, elegantly- 
figured i In thofe folitary forefts, w^here the fian 
does not eafily penetrate the thick foliage, it is 
aftonifhing to obferve the vivid colours of 'feveral 
kinds of parafite plants, of the genus of orchydes, 
moliily cleaving to the trunks of the largefl trees. 
In the leaft cro^'/ded fpots, the tree of the araVia 
clafs, defignated by the name of the cujjoyiia 
thyrjifioray adorned the forefl: w4th their large pal- 
mated leaves. 

Among the great number of lizards which were 
bufily purfuing infedis, I admired the agility of 
that called the flying dragon f draco volans, Linn.). 
During the greatefl heat of the day> that pretty 
animal rapidly darted from branch to branch, by 
extending two membranes in the form of wings, 
hj means of which it fufi:ains itfelf for fome time 
in the air. Nature having denied it the mufcles 
necelTary for the vibration of this kind of wrings, 
it can only fpread them out to counterad: the ra- 
pidity of its defcent. With its hind feet it gives 
its body an impulfe, which not interfering with 
Its defcenfjve motion, fometimes carries it for- 
ward a few toifes, and to a height nearly equal to 
that of the place whence it darted. 

In my return, I wiflied to take fome branches 
Z 2 frona 


troni the ditFerent vegetables which grew in a 
garden belonging to a native of the ifland. But 
the guides who accompanied us, apprized me of 
the danger to which they believed I would expofe 
myfelf. Pointing to a little Ihed, they feveral 
times repeated, v>dth an air of refped: blended 
■with fear, the word mat^, before our interpreter 
could explain to us, that, by this term, which 
means a dead perfon, they meant to fignify the 
ancient poileiror of the garden, who lay buried 
under the little flied, which we faw. The natives 
are perfuaded, that the foul of the deccafed poilef- 
fors wander in the neighbourhood of fuch places, 
in order to preferVe their products for the pre- 
fent proprietors. They believe, that any other 
perfon who fhould take any part of fuch pro- 
duces would die within the year ; and fo gene- 
rally is this belief diffufcd, that feldom does any 
inhabitant allow himfelf to touch the property 
of another ; fo that this tnaie is a bugbear, which 
almoft alw^ays infures the harveft to its legitimate 

The General went on board to review the 
ihip's company, and he procured advances for 
thern all. 

25th. My collection was already fo numerous. 
and called for fo much care, that I fpent almoft 
the whole of the 24th in preparing them ; but 


Sept.] of la perouse. 357 

the next day Citizen Riche and I afcended the 
river called Baton Ga?iion, which empties itfelf 
into the road on the weft fide of the town. It 
is confined in a very deep channel, excavated by 
its current between the hills, which in many 
places are of dillicult accefs. We propofed to af- 
cend as far as we could, endeavouring to follow 
exactly the windings of the banks ; but their 
fteepnefs obliged us to take to the channel itfelf, 
where the water was fcldom lefs than eighteen 
inches in depth. 

We had advanced but a few fteps, when we 
met a Dutch failor, who had made his efcape 
from a large fhip loaded with cloyes, and which 
was on the point of failing for Batavia. The 
dread of periihing by the contagious malady fo 
fatal to Europeans, who remain there even for a 
very fhort time, had made this unhappy man re- 
folve to conceal himfelf in the woods till the 
fhip lliould have failed. We lamented his un- 
fortunate fituation ; but little did we forefee that 
the place vvhich he dreaded fo much, was to ter- 
minate our own peregrinations. 

On the banks of this river; there grew in abun- 
dance, a new fpecies of hegonia, remarkable for 
the fmallnefs of all its parts. 

A beautiful granite, of a fine grain, formed 
die bafe of thofc hills. Quartz, generally very 

Z 3 white. 

358 VOYAGE IN SEARCH - [1702. 

white, v/as there in fomc cafes tinged by the green 
fleatite, and in others by iron, which gave it the 
colour of ruft. Mica was there diifeminated in 
a very uniform manner, and we found fchorl of 
a black colour, in minute ilender fragments. 

While we were employed in colle<fling objecls 
of natural hiftory, our guides took the opportu- 
nity of providing themielves v/ith a repail: ot a 
fpecies of crab (cancer carlnus), with which this 
little river abounds. Their manner of catching 
them gave us a good opinion of their ingenuity. 

This crab commonly fceks its food in the clearefi 
water, which it flowly traverfes, but the inftant 
it is approached, it moves off with extreme ra- 
pidity. The iflanders, however, managed to catch 
a great number of them by the eyes. Having 
tied to the end of a wand a horfe hair with a 
noofe, they render themfelves mafters of the ani^- 
mal by paffing this noofe over the bafis of the 
fpherical part of the eye. When they mifs their 
aim, the crab feldom fails to^ return, and in the 
end is almoft always taken. 

Having early confumed all our provifions, we 
hoped to find fome natives towards the latter 
part of the day, who would iell us fome. It was 
about three in the afternoon, when we advanced 
confidently towards a fmall houfe, near the bank 
of the river. But what was our aftonifhmcnt, 


Sept.] of la perouse. 359 

when, to every thing we afked for, we received 
no other anfwer than tarda P for thus the miftrefs 
of this Uttle habitation fignified, that fhe could 
not furnilli us with any of the articles which we 
defired. Yet we took great pains to aiTure her, 
that we would pay her exactly for every thing 
fhe gave us. We were the more furprifed at this 
pretended poverty, as tiie appearance ot the na- 
tives announced abundance. In the fequel I learn- 
ed, that thofe peaceable people have noj: always 
reafon to be i'atisfied with thecondud: ot the Eu- 
ropeans, wiio govern their illand. They thought 
their fdicik way was, not to truit to our promiiee. 
A few idalies ot arrack, however, and fome trifi- 
ing matters which we difrributed among them, at 
lall gained us their confidence. 

They invited us to fit dow n imder a flied form- 
edl3v an elongation of the roof of the cabin. Crabs 
caught in the little river were fet before- us in 
abundance. Tiiey roatred lor us potatoes and 
yams, and rea:aled us with the wme ot the fa2:o- 
palm, fliglitly fermented This liquor, v»hich, 
when newly drawn from the tree, is called y^^75/^r 
niGiida, and acrj'aguero moiida, is much more agree- 
able than the milk of the cocoa-nut. The orl 


who was preparing our rep aft, to a figure and ap- 
pearance extremely pleafmg, joined an an of fni- 
cerity which gave charms to the intercrt which 

Zl flic 


fhe infpired. Having brought us fome fruits, fhe 
immediately went and feated herfelf behind her 
mother, from whence fhe occafionally ftole a 
glance at us, to fatisfy her curioiity. 

This frugal repaft was not without its charms. 
To our refled:ions on the life of a man who un- 
dertakes long voyages, were added the pleafmg 
idea which we had formed of the happinefs of 
thofe iflanders, whofe wants nature has fupplied 
with fo liberal a hand. 

The confi:ru6lion of their houfes is adapted to 
the beauty of the climate ; and the lightnefs of 
their materials renders it unnecefTary to dig their 
foundations down to the rock. 

As the inhabitants never experience fevere 
weather, the walls are conftrud:ed in fuch a man- 
ner as to allow a free paflage to the air. They 
confift of a fort of paling, frequently formed of 
twigs of bamboo, placed very near each other. 

The cottage of our hoft, which occupied a fpace 
thirteen feet in length, and about ten in breadth, 
inftead of bamboos, was wattled with the ftems 
of the fago-tree limbs (femllesj, which, though 
near together, left fome intervals, through which 
the external air had free accefs into the habita- 

Thofe ftems, though very light, have a great 
deal of folidity, being covered with a \trj hard 


Sept.] of la perouse 86i 

bark. The heart of them conilils of a fungous 
fubftancc, which th^ inhabitants ufe inftead of 

Every part of this habitation was derived from. 
. the fago-tree, even to the roof, the top of which 
being about ten feet in height, was covered with 
the leaves (follolcsj of that valuable tree. They 
were plaited and fixed to a pole, thus forming 
rectangles often the whole length of the houfe^ 
and about eight inches in breadth^ and cis they 
overlapped each other, they wxre impenetrable 
by the hardeft rain. 

The two fides of the roof were inclined about 
forty-five degrees, and a part of it formed at the 
door a little filed, where the family enjoyed the 
frefli air, and where alfo they drelTed their vic- 
tuals ; for, as the cottage was not furniflied. with 
a chimney, a fire would have rendered it uninha- 

It appeared flrange that thofe people, who 
loved to be at their cafe, lliould fleep on a fort 
of treUis formed of fticks, t^ inches afunder. 
This was but a hard bed, nWwithftanding the 
mats with which it was covered ; but it afforded 
them the pleafure of the frefli air, which circu- 
lated freely in the interftices. It was elevated 
about eighteen inches above the ground, and 
below it was depofited a part of the houfchold 


362 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

utenfiL^^ confifting of three earthen pots of their 
own manufa<fiure, forae fquare bottles, which 
they had bought from the Europeans, aii,d fpoons 
which they had formed of the large fhells com- 
mon at Amboyna. Among thole fliells we re- 
cognized different fpecies of the nraiiihiSy many 
pearl -oyfiiers, and alfo a kind know^n by the name 
oi pinna rudls. 

We obferved befidcs, under the bed, a pick- 
axe and a large knife, in the form of a butcher's 
chopping-knife, called pljjcin in the Malayan lan- 
guage. They had both thofe inftruments from 
the Eui*opcans. 

As the temperature of the climate renders 
rloathing unneceflary, their wardrobe contains 
nothing but what is fliricSlly requifite to conceal 
the parts which decency forbids them to expofe 
to view. 

A pair of drawers, which does not reach lower 
than the middle of the thigh, or a bit of blue 
ftuff tied round the loins, is the only cloathing of 
,the men who are employed in agriculture. 

The drefs of the women is naturally more e?c- 
penfive. They wear a kind of fhift of the fame 
Huff which defcends to the middle of the leg, 
.and is faftened round the loins with a girdle. 

Our prefents had excited their gratitude. The 
girl, having difappeared for a few minutes, re- 

Sept.] of la perouse. 303 

turned to offer us feme odoriferous flowers ; but 
as flie wanted a ftring to form them into nofe- 
gays, we had an opportunity of obfcrving the 
readinefs, with which thofe natives obtain a 
fibrous fubllance from the baftard aloe, called 
agave vivipara. The m after of the houfe ran 
out and cut a leaf of that plant, and placing it 

upon his thigh, in order to fplit it with his large 
Icnife, and to free it from the pith, he foon pro- 
duced a parcel of filaments, as long as the leaf, 
and as ftrong as thofe of our beft hemp. 

In our return, we met a flave whofe decrepi- 
tude excited our curiofi ty. But it was to no pur. 
pofe that we afked him, hov/ old he v/as; for he 
could not fatisfy us in that particular, as he knew 
nothing about it. It appeared Grange to us, that 
ia man Ihould not have counted the number of 
years which he had paiTed in ilavery ! ! 

28th. This day I took an airing in the road, in 
a canoe with a double outrigger. Some fportf- 
men, taking the opportunity of this rapid con- 
veyance to the eaftvvard of the tov/n, joined our 
party* We followed the right bank of the road, 
at a little diftance from the fhore. The water was 
{o limpid as to difclofe to our \ icw, at the depth of 
three and four fathoms, the bottom compofed of 
white coral, on which we could perfectly diftin- 
guiih the fpecies of ray, or thornback, remark- 


able for its large circular fpots of azure blue, as 
well as Several other fifties exhibiting the moft 
brilliant colours. There was a Papow on boards, 
who had the addrefs to catch feveral of them. 
Standing in the fore part of the canoe, he darted 
his fpear, confifting of a bamboo pointed with 
iron, at the fifh which was his objedt. The 
fpear, from its lightnefs, afcended nearly in the 
fame diredlion ; fo that though it had gone to a 
great depth, our Papow feldom failed to catch it, 
notwithftanding the way we were making. 

When we were about 1,500 toifes from the 
town, we admired the charming fituation of the 
Governor's country houfe, at the foot of a chain 
of mountains, which terminate in a gentle decli- 
vity near the road. 

A cottage of the natives, half way up this flope 
encircled with clove and banana trees, added 
greatly to the beauty of this rural fcene. 

The depth diminiftied fo much that, though 
our canoe fcarcely drew more than eight inches 
of water, we were obliged to keep off Ihore, in 
order to avoid the rocks. 

At the diftance of more than 5,100 toifes from 
the town, after paffing fome fiftiing boats, we 
landed on the right bank near a cottage, the 
owner of which furniflied us with as many cocoa- 
nuts as wc wiihed. Some iiiilors w^ho were with 


Sept.] of la perouse. 365 

us, finding their liquor too fvveet, mixed with it 
as much brandy as fuited their talle, and we had 
the fatisfadtion of obferving, that this potation was 
by no means difagreeable to our hoft. 

After this break fall, each of us entered on the 
bufinefs which had brought him thither ; and 
we agreed to rendezvous at the place w^here we 

For my own part, I refolved to make an at- 
tempt on the mountains to the eaftward. 

I followed a path very much frequented hy 
the natives, leaving it, however, and penetrating 
into the foreft at every clear interval, which fa- 
cilitated my entrance. 

In feveral places the earth had ruflied down, 
and expofed to view the hard grey flone, which 
formed the bafes of thofe mountains. I had alfb 
obferved the fame kind of ftone on the ihore of 
the road-llead, along which we had juft been 

Among the different fhrubs which grew on the 
low lands, I obtained a very fine mixed fpecies of 
the genus cony fa, remarkable for having three 
principal nerves on each leaf, as in feveral fpecies 
of the melajloma. It had alfo the general appear- 
ance of the plants of that genus, to which I fliould 
have been inclined to refer it, if I had not feen 
the flower. 


366 Voyage in searc^h tl7Q2. 

The phalanger of Butfon {didelplus orlcntalis^ 
Linn.) inhabited the foot of thofe mountains. 1 
had a near view of feveral of them as they rapidly 
flew paft me. 

When I had gained about 150 toifes of per- 
pendicular elevation, I remarked a total change 
in the nature of the foil. Beds of calcareous ftones, 
perfe<5lly pure and white, crowned thofe high 
grounds, which now prefented a great extent of 
Ycry level furface. - 

There I faw a garden furrounded with a paling 
of bamboo, and very well cultivated, although at 
a great dillance from any habitation. There ap- 
peared to be no pollible means of watering it ;• 
yet the vegetation was very vigorous, owing to 
the humidity of the atmofphere in this elevated 
Situation. Large fields were allotted to the cul- 
ture of the ijiecies of pimento, called capjiciin: 
groffum, of which the inhabitants of the ifland con- 
fume a great quantity. 

A little fhed on the weft fide of the garden af- 
forded us its fhelter, and in it my thirlly guides 
found a ilipply of good water in long bamboos, 
which appeared to be dcfigned for fome other 
purpofe. This water had been brought I'rom the 
foot of the mountain, and w^e made as free with it 
as if it had been our own. 

Although it was very hot, they thought proper 


Sept.] of la perouse. 367 

to kindle a fire. I was far from forefeeing the 
intention of thofe people, who, like the greateft 
favages, took pleafure in feeing the flames devour 
the dry plants in the clear fpots. Prefentlj one 
of mj guides had the imprudence to fet fire to a 
large bulh. The air was then very calm ; but a 
light breeze foon after fpringing up, -drove the 
flames towards the garden, and I had the mortifi- 
cation to fee a part of its paling confumed, w itli- 
out being able to Hop the progrefs of the confla- 

The manner in which thofe natives produce 
fire, well deferves to be defcribcd. Their method 
is not fo expeditious as a good flint and flieel ; but 
they have the advantage of finding their material 
almoft every where, a piece of bamboo being fuf- 

The following is the way in which they perform 
it. They fplit into two equal parts, a bit of bam- 
boo eighteen inches in length. In one of the parts 
they form a longitudinal flit, and cut the other 
tapering to about an inch and a half in breadth. 
They put fcrapings of the fame wood under the 
flit, and in the concavity of the largeft pieces 
which they place horizontally, with the convex 
fide uppermoil: ; then introducing the other piece 
into the middle of the flit; where there is a notch 
to receive it, and fupporting it flrongly, they give 



it the motion of a faw, and in lefs than a minute 
the fcrapings catch fire. 

The canartum commune overtopped all the trees 
in thofe elevated forefts. I was furprized to fee 
tKe calcareous rock naked in the midfl of thofe 
extenfive woods, the rotten remains of the trees 
not having yet covered them with a ftratum of 
tesetative mould ; and the rents contained no- 
thing but ftones, which time had broken afunder. 
Thofe ftones refemblcd vaft plates, of the fame 
nature with thofe which I had many times ob- 
ferved in our Alps. Their numerous cavities 
feemed to indicate, that the moft foiuble parts of 
them had been waflied away by the rain. 

Having been driven from this fpot by the fmoke 
of the fpreading conflagration, I proceeded to- 
wards the fouth-wefl:, where I found, in the 
midfl of the woods, many individuals of the nam 
nam of the Malays [cynomctra caul'ijiora, Linn.), 
which they raife in their gardens, on account of 
its fruit, the tafle of which approaches to that 
of a good apple, flightiy acid. 

Having followed the banks of a rivulet, which 
difcharged its waters near the place where we 
landed, curiofity induced me to vifit a cottage fitu- 
atcd near the fea. There I found an old man, 
who, contrary to the cuflom of thofe iflanders, 
\sore a long beard. He was boiling, in a large 


Sept.] of la perouse. 3O9 

earthen vcflel, fome fliell fiili, which he had col- 
lected at low water, among the mangrove trees 
near his habitation. The refped:able old man, 
without being furprized at my vifit, immediately 
invited me to partake of his repaft. A long 
Jfplintcr of a fago-tree limb was put into my hand, 
and I imitated my hofh in ufmg it to dig out of 
the fliell the filh, which were fet before me on a 

The old man's wife foon "niter joined us, and 
I fhould have been extremely furprized at the 
rodigious inequality of their ages, if I had not 
learned that thofe iflanders place their happinefs _ 
in marrying very young girls. Their phyfiognomy 
becomes iingularly animated whenever they 
fpeak of a young woman (in Malay, paranpotiaiig 
moudd), and, on the other hand, it is truly di- 
verting to obferve the frightful grimace which 
difcompofes their whole countenance, when they 
fpeak of an old woman, (paranpoumig toua). 

I endeavoured to make the old man fenfible of 
the extreme infalubtity of his fituation fo near 
to mangrove-trees ; where the flagnant "\vaters 
might affed: him with violent difordcrs. But I 
could not prevail on him to confcnt to remove las 
cottage to a more elevated fpot. Ail the anfwer 
which be made was, That the fea afforded him 
his livelihood. 

Vol. I. A a The 


The palm-tree, named ??}pa, grew in thofe fait 
marfhes. Its leaves are of great ufe in covering 
the cottages. 

The hunters had already arrived at the place of 
rendezvous. We were all extremely thirfty ; and 
we expelled to procure cocoa-nuts, with as much 
facility as when we came to the fame place in 
the morning. But the owner of the garden was 
abfent, and there Was no one in the cottage but 
his wife. It was in vain that we endeavoured to 
prevail upon her to fell us fome cocoa-nuts, for 
which we would have made one of our guides 
climb the trees. She gave us to underftand that 
Ihe had not liberty to fell them to us. Befides, not 
one of our guides would have dared to climb the 
trees in the abfence of the owner, and, if he 
had not come hom^e, we fliould have had no 
cocoa-nuts ; for he had placed among the trees 
a mate, for which our guides fhowed as much re- 
fped: as for the one I have already mentioned. 
This one was alfo in the form of a little flied, the 
roof of which might be about twenty-fix inches 
in height, covered with the leaves of the nipa 
palm, and fupported by four pofts, about eighteen 
inches diftant from each other. 

From the middle of the roof w\as fufpended by 
a rope a piece of bamboo, about eight inches in 
length, and covered with half a cocoa-nut. In 


Sept,] of la perouse. 371 

thb bamboo were contained, as I was told, fome 
things which had been the property of the perfon 
who was buried under the little Ibed. I com- 
plied with their requeft not to touch them ; for 
I did not wifli to treat their ufages with difre- 

When it was near fun-fct, we went on board, 
in order to return to the town. Our Papow gave 
us frefh proofs of his dexterity, by transfixing, 
while we were making confiderable way, different 
kinds of fifli. 

It was dark when we arrived at the town. 

I was employed for mofl of the 29th, in pre- 
paring and defcribing the objecfls which I had col- 
le(fl:ed on the preceding day. 

One of the fruits of my excurfion was the beau- 
tiful lizard, called lacerta Amhoinenjis. I obferved 
that it changed its colour like the chameleon : 
it was mofl commonly green, but it frequently 
affumed a deep brown. This animal is eafily 
taken ; for it allows one to approach it near 
enough to catch it by the extremity of the tail, 
which is of an extraordinary length. 

In the evening I repaired to the beach, in order 
to examine the marine productions thrown on 
fhore by the waters, and there I remained till 
night. I faw many iifhermen in their canoes near 
the beach, and who, taking advantage of the dark- 

A a 2 nefs. 

372 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

neis, decoyed the fifh by torches held near the 
furface of the water. Pieces of wood, fupported 
by the levers of the double outrigger of the canoe 
produced a very clear flame. One of the fifher- 
men attended thofe torches, and carefully diffufed 
their light, which it was eafy for him to do, by 
only letting bits of the flaming ^vood fall into the 
water ; while others were emiployed in encircling 
with their nets, the hihes collected from afar by 
this brilliant light : we did not hefitate to con- 
clude, from what wc obferved, that thofe inlanders 
were very lliilful fiiliermen. 

Very early in the morning of the 30th, we fet 
out to furvey the other ihore of the road. It 
was neceflary for us to go about 3,000 toifes by 
water, and this tranfit was dangerous in a canoe, 
whofe outriggers were not fufficiently ftrong to 
preferve the equilibrium of the velTel, when loaded 
with fo great a weight. We were anxious to vifit 
thofe places which wc had not yet viewed ; and 
w^e went on board w ithout knowing all the dan- 
ger of our cnterprize. But prefently we faw one 
of the outriggers dip under the w^atcr, w hen one 
of us leaned a little> and without the greateft 
care we fhould have been overfet. If this acci- 
dent had happened, towards the middle of the 
road, it would have been difficult, on account of 
the rapidity of the current, even for the moft ex- 

Sept.] " of la perouse. ' 3/3 

pert fwimmer of our number, to have reached the 
iliore. The danger diminiflied as we approached 
the place where we w'iflied to land. ' But we 
were much alloniflied: at the imprudence of one 
of the people belonging to the; Efperance, who,- 
although he could not fvvim, and w^as certain of 
being drowned, if we had been overfet, feveral 
times deranged the, equilibrium of -our little vef- 
fel. At laft, however, we got on ihore. 

The coaft was there covered' with the ihruh; 
calledy6U"i;o/(^ lohdla. It delights in fuch a fitua- 
tion ; and I alfo found it in New Ireland. 

At high water, the fea wafhed the -root of the 
beautiful tree whofe denomination, lieftftefa,\rt^ 
called the name of one of our moft able bbtanifts. 
Citizen I'Heritier. ' 

In proceeding weftward I found, among the 
fhells upon the beach, fome lavas very porous,' 
but yet too heavy to fwim in water. x\s I had^ 
not obferved, in the inland parts of the ifland, any 
ftones which had been fubjc<flcd to the aclion of 
fire, it feems reafonable to fuppofe^ that thoi^^ 
had been brought into their prefent fittiatron, by 
the waters, agitated by fome volcanic eruption ; 
for earthquakes are frequent in thofc psrts : ^d 
the inhabitants ftill mention with dread, one, 
among others, w^hich, twelve years before our ar 
rival in their ifland, had been attended with /reat 

^ a 3 devafta- 


devaflation : the houfes could not be inhabited 
for feveral days, and fome of them were even 

In the iiland of Barida, a Uttle to the eaftward 
of Amboyna, there is an open volcano. 

At Karuku a little iiland-, alfo to the eailiward 
of Amboyna, and at the diftance of about 5,100 
toifes from it, are hot fprings which, according 
to the accounts of feveral Europeans, will com- 
pletely coagulate an egg in five minutes. The 
hot vapour which iifues from thofe waters does 
not injure the trees which are continually bathed 
in it ; but on the contrary they exhibit proofs of 
a vigorous vegetation. 

This little ifland of Karuku is principally al- 
lotted to the culture of the clove-tree. 

I found, in the gardens of the natives fome nut- 
meg-trees, the largeft of which did not exceed 
twenty-two feet in height, the trunk having been 
about three inches in diam.eter. They already 
bore a great quantity of fruit. The nutmeg-tree 
delights in the lliade of large trees ; and thefe en- 
joyed the fhelter of the canarlwn commwie. The 
fame tree affords them its ihade, in the ifland of 
Banda, which is chiefly applied to their culture 
by the Dutch. 

The Council of the Dutch Eaft India Com- 
pany, which is eftabliflied at Batavia, finding the 


Sept.] of la perouse. 375 

produce of the nutmeg plantations at Banda fuf- 
ficient for exportation, and wifhing, befides, to 
prevent all contraband trade in that precious 
commodity, ordered, fome years before we arrived 
in Amboyna, all the nutmeg-trees in that ifland 
to be deftroyed. This order was executed, and 
very few of the devoted trees efcaped deftru(5lion ; 
but a hurricane which happened the fame year, 
deranged all tlieir avaricious calculations. It 
compleated in Banda, the devaftation which the 
Council had executed at Amboyna. 

The fame Council afterwards iflued orders to 
endeavour to repair the havock which they had 
committed at Amboyna. They now wilhed to 
re-eftablifli the culture of the nutmeg there. 
Hence thofe which we iaw near the road, are 
ftill very young. Yet we obferved feveral in the 
gardens of the town, and even oppofite to the 
houfe of the Commander of the place, which 
were much larger, having efcaped the deftru6live 
orders iffued by the government at Batavia. 

We found the beautiful laurel, called laurus 
cnlilaban, which yields, by diftillation, an aroma- 
tic oil very much in requeft. The natives know 
how to extract this precious oil, and make it an 
article of commerce. 

The largeft clove trees which we faw in this 
excurfion, were not above twenty-two feet in 

A a 4 height ; 

3/6 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

height ; and their trunks not above eight inches 
in thicknefs. The natives are obliged to dehver 
then* produce to the Dutch Company, for about 
th£ hundred- and fiftieth part of the price for 
which it is fold in Europe. We faw great quan- 
tities of the cloves which the natives had fpread 
on mats, under their iheds, in order to be pro- 
perly dried before being deli\ ered to the agents of 
the Company. Thofe people took fpecial care 
not to expofe them to the rays of the fun, Vvliich 
would have diffipated part of the eiTcntial oil of 
that excellent' aromatic. 

Being upon .the beach, I heard the found of 
wind inftruments, the harmony of which was 
Sometimes very juft, and blended with difibnances 
byTio means difp leafing. Tliofe fine and harmoni- 
ous founds iiiemed to come' from fuch a diltance, 
as to make me believe, for fome time, that the 
natives weic entertaining themfelves with their 
mufic, on the: other fide of the road, and near 
5,000 toifes from -che place where I ilood. My 
ear was much deceived as to the diltance ; for I 
W:as'not fifty toifes from the inftrument. It was 

- a bamboo, at leaft fixty feet in height, fixed in a 
vertical pofition, clofe to the fea. Between every 

. joint was a hole near an inch and* 2-iOths long, 
and fomcw^bat above half an inch broad. Thefe 
hol^s formed ib many mouths, which, by the ac- 

Oct.] of la perouse. 377 

tion of the wind emitted agreeable and varied 
founds. As the joints of this long bamboo were 
very numerous, care had been taken to pierce it 
ill different dire^lions ; fo that from whatever 
point the wind blew, it always met with fome 
holes. The found of this inftrument more nearly 
refembles that of the harmonica, than any other 
to which I can compare it. 

The experience which we had had of our ca- 
noe, in traverfmg the road, had given us the hint 
to prepare it better for our return. Accordingly 
the outriggers were ftrengthened, and we pro- 
ceeded- towards the town, without any apprehen- 
fions of being drowned. 

October 2d. Some hours of this day were 
employed in vifiting the Governor's cabinet of 
natural hiflory, in which I admired a numerous 
coliedtion of fine papilios, in perfcd: prefervation. 
1 obferved many duplicates of very rare ones, and 
a large box entirely filled v/ith the beautiful fpe- 
cies called pap'iUo agamemno?i. This cabinet alio 
contained a great variety of fliells, among which 
w^ere above twenty fcalata ( turbo fcaJar is, Linn.) 

The Secretary of the Council alfo pofl'effcd 
great colled;ions of this kind. A tafle for procur- 
ing objects of natural hiftory is very much diffufed 
among the Dutch, who hnd it a powerful mean 
<?f obtaining them preferment, when they know 



Ilow to addrefs their acquifitions, properly, to per- 
fons poiTeffmg influence with the Council at Ba- 
tavia, or in Europe. 

Captain Huon obtained many rare fliells from 
the Secretary of the Council, who gave him, 
among others, one of the moft precious and fcarce 
ihells, the glazed or glaily nautilus, fla ttaut'de 
v'lireej which he has made over by will to the 
mufeum of natural hiilory in Paris. 

.3d. The next day we proceeded towards the 
entrance of the road, following the fliore in the 
canoe which we commonly made ufe of. 

At the fame time, the tide rifing with great 
force, produced a rapid current, particularly to- 
wards the middle of the road. Notwithftanding 
the Itill of our paddlers, we would have gained 
nothing by flruggling againft fuch an obllacle. 
As> its force was much diminifhed towards the 
Ihore, we kept as near it as we could, a manoeuvre 
which was much facilitated by the fliallownefs of 
our vefTel. 

I was at fome pains in obferving the great di- 
minution of the current towards the lliore ; but 
I did not expedl to find it fo confiderable. The 
principal caufe appeared to me to be the proxi- 
mity of the land, which detained the water by a 
kind of adhefion ; whereas, at a greater diftance, 
the fea being^ much deeper, its upper ftrata, 


Oct.] of la perouse. 379 

which form the current, glide with facility upon 
the lower, and thus the frid:ion is extremely di- 

While there is a very rapid current towards 
the middle of the road, there is frequently none 
clofe to the fliore ; and fometimes one in a con- 
trary dirc(5lion, which ought to be afcribed to 
the diiferent points of land, protruding into the 

In a deep part, bordered- by a fandy bottom> 
we obferved fome filhing places, formed by a 
paling of bamboos fo clofe together, that the fifh 
Gould not efcape through it. The entrance was 
dry at low water ; fo that the fiilies which were 
thus encircled at high water could not get out 
when the tide had a little fubfided. Befides, the 
fifhes, which commonly prefer the deepeft water, 
advanced towards the farther part of the inclo- 
fure, where the depth, even at low water, was 
ftill about three feet. This refervoir imprifoned 
thofe fihes which were moft eafily decoyed, and 
man was not the only fiilier who frequented it ; 
for we obferved there feveral fpecics of herons; 
Our prefence drove fome of them away, But 
others flill remained, with their long legs deeply 
immerfed in the water, patiently waiting till the 
fifhes came w^thia their reach. The fiiliing mar- 
tens are alfo frequent attendants at thofe inclo- 

fures ; 


iures ; ibme of them were perched upon the 
|)amboos, from whence we faw them dart, from 
time to time, upon the £flies, which afforded 
them an abundant fupply of food. 

We -then halleried to a point of landfufRcientIy 
advaaced into the fea, to induce the Dutch to 
build a redoubt upon it. But they had abandoned 
this fortification, as well as another which we 
obferved on the oppofite fliore nearer to the en- 
trance of the road. We went on board at a fmall 
(diftance from the former redoubt, and fleered fof 
the coimtry-houfe of M. Hoffman, chief furgeort 
of the hofpital, with whom - we had formed an 

After making a hafty breakfaft, at which fpices- 
were ferved up with a profufion, which made us 
remember we were in the Moluccas, I went to 
view the vicinity of this habitation, where a 
marfliy fituation afforded me, among a great 
number of other plants, the beautiful fpecies of 
acanthus, with leaves like thofe of holly (acanthus 
iUcifoUuSj Linn.), and alfo its variety, with wholes 
leaves. ^ 

We then returned towards the redoubt, the 
form of which, on the fide next the fea, is femi- 
circular, being not more than eighty-one toifes in 
length and fifty-one in breadth. The walls are 
above fix feet in height, above three in thicknefs^ 



on the land fide, and fix towards the road, with 
embrafures to receive forty pieces of cannon. 

While I was on fliore, Citizen Riche fet our 
canoe-men a diving, and they frequently brought 
him up very valuable marine productions. The 
road of Amboyna abounds with beautiful fliells, 
which are feldom met w-ith clfewhcre ; the molt 
delicate being protected, in its numerous deep re- 
ceifes, from the motion of the waters, are often 
found in perfc(5l prefervation. 

Our Papow proved to be not only the beft di- 
ver, but the merriefl: of all our guides. His hu- 
mour, which was truly laughable, very much di- 
verted his comrades. He ad:ed feveral fcenes 
of comedy, which he told us w^as a favourite 
amufement among his countrymen. One of thofe 
which he repeated the ofteneft, becaufe it pro- 
duced general applaufc, reprefented a w^oman 
ready to lye in. He entertained us, when wc 
were taking fome refrefliment, with the fincft 
part of the piece, and he feemed to do great juf- 
tice to the charad:er. . 

Some of the inhabitants of the South Sea 
Iflands a6t fimilar comedies. Captain Cook, iri 
his fccond voyage, relates, that at the Society 
Iflands, he was prefent at fuch an exhibition. 

I took the opportunity, while our Papow was 
in fo good a humour, to alk him, Wiiat method 


^82 .VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92. 

the people of his country took to fcparatc the 
umbilical cord ? He told me, that they burnt it, 
above an inch from the body, a mode of opera- 
tion which has been pra(5tifed by fome furgeons, 
and that, for this purpofe, the Papows employed 
a well kindled torch. 

We re-embarked, in order to proceed farther, 
always following the fame bank. Some of the 
erythr'ma corallodendron made themfelves remark- 
able by their fine bright red flowers. 

On the fteep fides of the hard grey rocks, which 
formed the neighbouring fhore, grew fome trees 
of the vacoua (paiidanus odorattffimaj , which over- 
hanging the fea, gave thofe places a very pic- 
turefque appearance. The large fpherical fruit, 
depending from the extremities of their branches, 
increafed their natural inclination towards the 
water, the furface of which was always covered 
with ripe fruit. 

Thefe delightful fcenes 2;ave us reafon to be 
pleafed with our excurfion. Having palled forne 
time there, we re-embarked, in order to advance 
flill nearer to the entrance of the road. 

A charming fituation, in the vicinity of a cot- 
tage occupied by a native, induced us to go on 
fliore. The mafter of the cottage was abfent ; 
but we found in this peaceful habitation, a young 
woman, encircled by her children, whom Ihe was 


Oct.] of la perouse. 383 

amufing, with a very fimple ftringed inftrument, 
which Ihe accompanied with her agreeable voice. 
It was formed of a joint of bamboo, about lix 
inches in length, covered at one end with a piece 
of parchment, like a drum. Three llrings of 
bark, each of them ftretched by a bridge, w^ere 
fixed to the two extremities of this cylinder, 
which was placed upon the knees. The two moil 
diftant chords founded an oftavc, and the inter- 
mediate one a fifth with the fartheft chord. A 
circle at each extremity, about 4-loths of an inch 
in height, fupported other firings, intended to 
render the inflrument more fonorous. Thefc 
firings were more or lefs flretched, by a (lider, 
w^hich connected two and two together, and 
which could be moved at pleafure, through al- 
^ mofl w^hole length, as in our drums. A little flip 
of bamboo bark, put the chords fupported by the 
bridges into vibration. The accom.paniment, al- 
though monotonous, feemed infinitely plcafmg 
to our guides, whofe ears were accuftomed to 
this fpecies of mufic. 

This habitation was encircled with nutmeg- 
trees, not far advanced in growth, but already 
wxU proportioned ; although at Amboyna, their 
culture is not generally relifhed. The vicinity 
formed a beautiful orchard, in which the brilliant 
flow^crs of the eugenla malaccenjls attracted our ad- 
miration ; 

884 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92* 

miration ; and there we alfo partook of the agree- 
ably acid fruit of the averrhoa caranibola. 

The Ihore was embeUiflied, almoft to the edge 
of the water, by a large plantation of the fpecies 
of tree called acfchtnomeiie grand'iflora, which bears 
the largeft flower of all the leguminous plants, 
and w^hich is commonly of a beautiful white, but 
alfo fometimcs red. The natives frequently eat 
it boiled, and in fome cafes they ufe it raw, by 
way of a falkid. 

The bark of this tree yields a bitter extradl, 
w4iich they adminifter as a tonic in fevers. 

The day was drawing to a clofe, and the cur- 
rent fet againft us. We were therefore obliged 
to keep clofe in fhore, and it was night before we 
got back to the town. 

4th. As foon as I . had difpofed, in the mofl 
convenient manner, the produce of my laft ex- 
curfions, I went towards the fouth-eaft, to a little 
diftance from the town, and I ftill found plants 
to add to my colle6lions. At my return, I faw a 
white negro, of Papow origin. His hair was white, 
and his fl^-in fair, and marked in fome places with 
red, like tlioie of the red-haired Europeans ; but 
his fight was not weak, as it commonly is in other 

This young Papov^*^, was a flave to a Dutch- 
man, and had been but a Hiort time at Amboyna. 


Oct.] of la perouse. 385 

When I firft caft my eyes on him, he was playing 
on an irtllrument, which I was furprized to fee 
among thole people : it was a Jew's harp, cut out 
of the hardeft part of a bamboo, but was not 
quite fo large as the iron ones which we ufe. As 
the tongue of it could not be bent, to make it 
vibrate with the fin2:ers, a little ftrin^; tied to one 
of the extremities of the inftrument communi- 
cated the irapulfe neceifary to agitate the tongue, 
which then gave the fame found as the iron blades 
of our Jew's harps. I was told that this inftrument 
was very agreeable to the Papows. 

5th. We had, for fome days, formed the dciign 
of vifiting the country houfe belonging to the 
Commander of the place, fituated near the farthefb 
end of the road ; and his fon favoured us with his 

We fet off before day-break; and it was fcarccly 
five o'clock, before we were feated in our canoes. 

We fbon arrired under a flied, furrounded with 
trees, which afforded a falutary protection from 
the fcorching heat ; and they were by no means 
a vain decoration to this delightful retreat, for 
moft of them bore excellent fruit. Among the 
different anonas which were offered to us, the 
beft was of the fpecies known by the name of 
anona mur'icata. 

In a little time, we re-embarked, and we were 

Vol. I, B b near 

386 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1792, 

near 5,000 toifes from the town, when we paiTed 
a point of land, beyond which the road extends 
itfelf greatly towards the north. 

A frefli breeze from the fouth-eaft impeded our 
progrefs, and drove the waves againft our flight 
veiTel, which proved very inconvenient. 

At the fame time, a large boat, loaded with 
w^ater for the Efperance, came out of the creek, 
into which runs a river which affords that article 
to the Ihipping. They bring the water from that 
great dillance, becaufe it is much more eafily ob- 
tained there than near the tow^n, where, however, 
the water is alfo very good. 

The current occafioned by the return of the 
tide oppofed our courfe ; but our boatmen re- 
doubled their efforts, and we at lafl reached the 
end of that long branch of the road. 

We walked for fbme time under the Ihade of 
nutmeg trees, which, as wxll as the young plants, 
were much more numerous there, than in any 
other part of the country which we had hitherto 

The Commander's fon was here In the midfl 
of his relations. We were near the houfe of one 
of his coufms, who was a native of the ifland ; 
and there we behoved to dine after their manner. 
Fiih, bread, fago, rice, and fome fruits, formed 
our repaid. As we were not ferved with fpoons, 


Oct.] of la perouse* 337 

we were obliged to imitate our hoft by taking 
up the victuals with our fingers ; but we did not 
eat the lefs on that account, nor with a worfe ap- 

All of us reconciled ourfelves very well to bread 
inade of fago ; the fifh was ftrongly feafoned with 
pimento, but fome glaffes of the water of the 
fago-tree diminiflied the violence of its effeds. 

While we fat at dinner, we were entertained 
with mufic. A kind of fpinet was accompanied 
by a man's voice ; a drum ferved as a bafe, and 
a tamtam as a counter-bafe. 

After dinner our holl: carried us in his canoe 
about 500 toifes towards the eafi:. 

There we faw a man employed in preparing a 
fago-tree. This tree, which was about eighteen 
inches in thicknefs, had been cut down a little 
time before. It was already opened for a part of 
its length, the whole of which did not exceed 
forty feet, and it had afforded a great deal of fago. 
This palm, like the other trees of this genus, 
preferving nearly the fame diameter for its whole 
length, yields nearly as much fago towards the 
top of the trunk as towards the root. (Fig. A. 
Plate xlii, is an exa^l figure of a young fago tree.) 
The external part of its trunk is formed of a very- 
hard ligneous ihell or cruft, four lines and a half 

Bb 2 in 

"3^8 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l70^^ 

in thicknefs. The trunk is a large cylinder filled 
■with pith, which is interfperfed, through the 
whole length of the trunk, wath ligneous fibres, 
about the thirteen-thoufandth part of an inch in 
thicknefs, and often above two lines diftant from 
each other. 

They pound the fago after taking it out of the 
tree ; they then put it into bags made of a fort 
of canvas, furniflicd by the bafes of the limbs of 
the cocoa-nut tree. On thofe bags they throw, 
from time to time, pure water, which carries off 
the Ja-cula (or fedmient), while this kind of fearce, 
or ftrainer, partly retains the w^oody fibres. 

The water repleniflicd with the fsecula is re- 
ceived into troughs, about three feet in length, 
formed of the lower part of the limbs of the fago 
tree. On the end of each trough they faften a 
ilrainer, to retain that part of the fasculi^ which 
has fubfided, and the ligneous fibres which have 
■efcaped the firft walhing, fwim on the water. 
■ This lafl: ftrainer required no preparation : it 
was of the fame nature with the other; both 
being a fibrous contexture, which differs from our 
ftuffs in this, that its component fibres arc fimply 
applied, and run parallel to each other through- 
out the whole Icnc'th ; but fome fhort lateral 
fibres, which travcrlc the longitudinal ones, bind 


Oct.] of la perouse. 38Q 

them together, and form a firm contexture of the 

. To clear the fieculas of the fago of the. ligne- 
ous fibres which ftill remain, after having been 
wafhed in the facks or bags, it is again put into 
troughs, commonly tour in num"ber, and arranged; 
one higher than the other ; fo that what is not 
depofited in the firfl, may be received into the 
fecond, ,and,fo on. '^nb:-^ rm^-io 

The texture of the fago tree well deferves exa- 
mination, and therefore I difiedicd the trunk of 
one, in which I obferved the conformation of parts 
common to many other fpecies of palms, as Citi- 
zen Desfontaines has fo well defcribed, in a me- 
moir on plants with feminal leaves. 

0th and /th. I could not go any great diftancc 
from the town on the two following days, on ac- 
count of the affiduous care neceiTary to prefervc 
my collediions. An intelligent affiftant to each 
naturalifl:, would have faved that precious tirhe, 

* The reader willt)brcrvc, that the kind of fcarce here 
defcribed, is merely a natural produftion, which is not over 
plainly intimated by the Author. They are commonly called 
by the Englifh cocoa-nut ftrainers. They referable frag- 
ipents of very coarfe brown linen, but are not fu pliable. If 
1 rightly remember, they arc from two to three feet in length, 
and where broadeft, which is about the middle, from a foot 
to about lifteen inches in brpadth. — Tranjl.itor. 

B b 3 which 


which ihould have been employed to a much 
better purpofe. 

8th. But this day, light had fcarcely appeared, 
when we were upon the road. In croffing it we 
directed our courfe towards its entrance, and very 
Xi drly approached a redoubt, about 5,000 toifes 
dift^nt from the town. In that place, the road 
was at leaft 3,500 toifes in breadth; fo that an 
enemy had nothing more to fear from this bat- 
tery, than from the firft which I have defcribed. 
This is conftrudled exadlly in the fame manner ; 
but it is fituated nearer to the. entrance of thq 

Near this fpot was a hamlet, compofed of fome 
cottages, the neatnefs of which indicated the ealy 
circumllances of the inhabitants. The lea fup- 
plied them copioufly w ith food, and moft of the 
houfes were encircled with well cultivated gar- 

Some of thofe inlanders raifed fowls, and dif- 
pofed of them at the market in the town. We 
accepted the invitation of one of thofe honeil: peo- 
ple, who infilled on treating us with new laid 

Moll of the gardens were furrounded with 
fhrubs, among which we dillinguilhed the Ja^ 
tropha curcaSf which being planted clofe together, 



formed a good fence. Its feeds have a vefy agree- 
able tafte;, refembling that of the hazle-nut. The 
natives apprized us, that, when eaten even in a 
fmall quantity, they induced great drowfinefs. 
They did not know^ that the narcotic quaUty re- 
fides in the part, know^n to the botanilts by the 
name of the embryo ; and I had the pleafure of 
Showing them, that, when this part is removed, 
the kernel may be eaten, without any inconve- 

Advancing farther jnto the country, we ob- 
served fome individuals of the arnotto, bixa orelr- 
Ia7ia, which were cultivated with little care. 
When we had reached the entrance of the road, 
we faw at a diftance feveral large canoes ftrivmg 
to make it, and fome others which had nearly 
gained that object. 

Our little canoe had arrived at the place of 
Tcndezvous, when the boiftcrous tide raifed waves, 
which did not a little embarrafs the flecrfman ; 
the fea being at the fame time very much broken, 
{t was, in Ihort, abfolutely neceiTury f r us to wait 
till it was calmed, before we could goon bcard^ In 
order to proceed to the othe/ iide of the road, 
which was the moil diftant excuriion we had hi^ 
thcrto made. 

For fome time we kept along the Ihore, ui 
order that we might the moxc ealily oppoic the 

B b 3. tide, 

.JQf VOYAGE IN ^EAR^H [^17Q2. 

tide, and compenlate the lee-Way, which was oc- 
casioned by the force of the current. Near the 
extremity of the road, a great number of dolphins 
•fdelpli'mus delph'isj, darting rapidly through the 
water, paffed us at fo fmall a diftance, as to make 
fuch of us as could not fwim, feriouily afraid that 
we fliould be overfet. 

We immediately landed near a little habita- 
tion, fituated near one of the finefl parts of the 

The fifhermen on the other fide had provided 
us abundantly with their article, which one of 
our number had a mind to drefs, after the fafhion 
of the inhabitants of the South Sea Iflands, who 
ufc the milk of the cocoa-nut as their onlv fauce. 
To this difh, fo much praifed by Captain Cook, 
he' made an addition of pimento. V/e had the 
fatisfad:ion to obferve, that this compofition was 
extremely agreeable to our hofts, to whom it was 
unknown ; and they cheerfully furnifhed our 
guides with every thin«; necefiarv to fucceed com- 
pleatly in preparing it. He who gave directions 
for the compofition of this excellent mefs, ac- 
quired among the inhabitants the reputation of 
being a very good cook ; and we were much di- 
verted by their perpetually afking us, if he was 
not the chief cook on board of our fliip. 

In the vicinity of this cottage, 1 admired the 


Oct.], of la perouse. 393 

beauties of the llirub, known by the name of 
abroma avgujia. The hedyfariim umhellatiim made 
a cllitinguifhed figure, amidll fcveral new Ipecies 
of the faine genus. The nutmeg-trees invited to 
this fpot pigeons, of the fpecics columha alhoy 
Linn. The crops of thole which we killed were 
full of nutmC2;s. 

The exccffive pcrfpiration, occafioncd by tlie 
heat of 'the climate, often induce cutaneous dif- 
eafes.- The bodies of five of our hofts were co- 
vered with dry tetters, the Icales of which falling 
oif, were immediately facceeded by frefli ones; 
and appeared the more confpicuous, on account 
ot tlic colour being a contrafl: to the copper tint 
of their Ikins. This malady frequently invades 
every part of the body. We alfo law fome chil- 
dren, who were affected by another cutaneous dif- 
order, froili which they did not appear to fuffer 
any pain: almoft the whole of their bodies were 
covered with large warts, not much more than an 
inch diftant from each other. 

I feldom vifited a cottage at Amboyna, in 
which I did not find inftruments of mufic ; and 
I met with one here, which I never faw any 
where elfe. It was a fort of hautboy, tlic lower 
extremity of which terminated in two diverging 
branches pierced with holes in the fame order in 
each, and thus forming two flutes, both founding 


3p4 VOYAOE IN SEARCH [l f 92. 

the fame notes. The natives Jove to pir/ In uni- 
{on, ^nd ^pply pne li^nd to each branch, 

I returned to the tov/n, 2)1 a dark night, whet^ 
tlit water in the road, prefented to my view col» 
le^fHons of little bodies, vs^hich illuminated large 
portions ot the furiace. 1 he water which I took 
up in the moil luminous parts, left on the filtre, 
through which they were paffed, little molecules 
•which dif^red in no refpect from thofc which I 
had already examined, before our arrival at the 
Cape of Good Hope, and in other places, at a 
great diftance froip land. We made the land 
near the town, at the moment of high water, 
and were obliged to w^ade, more than 150 toifes, 
through the water, which was fo Ihallow as not 
to admit our canoes to come near enough the 
fhore to land us. The filhermen were kindling 
their fires to decoy t^e fifh, which the tide had 
brought thither in fuch numbers, that we faw 
their nets filled with them. 

gth and 10th. The two next days were em^ 
ployed in viewing the vicinity of the town. I was 
iiirprized to find in fb fmall an ifland, {o many 
different fpecies of vegetables ; but doubtlefs its 
proximity to Ceram had enriched it with part of 
the plants of that extenfive ifland. 

In the evening, the Governor gave an enter*^ 
tamment, this having been the anniverfary of one, 



of his fons, who was m Europe finifhing his edu- 
cation. All the naturalifts were invited, and we 
made our appearance at the Government-houfe, 
an hour after fun-fet. As the coohiefs of the at- 
mofphere was not then inconfxfi:ent with danc- 
ing, the ball had already begun, and feveral coun- 
try dances were formed in the great faloon, in 
which the Governor received us, on our firfl vint 
along with General Dentrecafteaux. 

This faloon was a kind of gallery, which was 
decorated with fome engravings, and a few very 
indifferent pictures, placed at a great diitance 
from each other. The walls were only plaflered 
with fome coats of lime ; although it would not 
have been difficult to have adorned them with 
fine wainfcotting at a fmall expence; as thc- 
ifland produces feveral kinds of wood proper for 
inlaid work.* 

* The number of fcorplons and folopendras (or forty- 
legs) before obferved to have been brought en boar<- witli 
the wood taken in at Carteret harbour, might have fug- 
gefled to the Author, that wainfcotting only ferves as an 
afylum to thofe and other vile infe£ls, which fwarm in mull 
tropical countries. For the fame reafon, a great number of 
prints and piftures are inconvenient, and it is fcarcely pofll- 
ble to preferve paper from the attacks and the excrements of 
infers. Plain painting and white-wafhing are almoll the 
only decorations, which the infides of houies conveniently 
admit in thofe climates ; as the Author would have difco- 
vered, if he h^ continued to refide in them. — Tranfiator. 


3q6 voyage in search [i7Q2. 

. Almoft all the daughters of the Company's 
fervants were at the ball. The heat of the clime 
certainl}/ forbade all violent motion ; yet we were 
jfurpri?;cd to fee the young ladies dance^in a man- 
ner fo very unfavourable to the difplay of their 
graces. They contented themfelves with walking 
llowly, fcarcely obferving the figures, and their 
fupine air^ formed a ftrong contrail with the ex- 
treme quicknefs, which the compofer ha(i given 
to the country dances which they performed. 

The orcheltra confifted of four negroes, who 
played on the violin, and another who performed 
on the bafs. 

The ball was fucceeded by a fplendid fupper, 
which was ferved up in the fame apartment. 

From the fmall number prefent at half an hour 
pail nine, 1 fuppofed that the party at fupper 
would not be numerous ; but the greater part of 
the gueils, not caring for the dance, did not come 
till about ten at night. 

Gaiety prevailed at this entertainment, which 
lailed a good part of the night ; and the dancing 
was refumed, and continued till fun-riie. 
, We were farprized that we had not the com- 
pany of M. Strampfer, one of the miniilers of 
the Protcilant perfuafion, who had received us 
fo kindly ; but wx foon learned that he had lately 
incurred the difpleafure of the Governor, becaufc 


Oct.] of la perouse. S97 

forfboth, after having diligently attended to the 
education of that gentleman's children, for fe- 
yeral years, the poor man had rcquefted pay- 
ment ! It might well be fiippofed, that the 
boafted honour of having educated the children 
of the Governor, was a compenfation not quite 
fufficient for a man w ho had a family of his own ; 
but he could obtain nothina;' more ! ! 

] 1th. I employed a part of this day, in fur- 
veying' the beauties of feveral gardens, and 
among the plants which adorned them, I obferved 
the Chinefe box-tree, miirraya exotica, which 
formed very fine avenues, alfo the mixed car- 
manthine, jiiftitta vanegata, and the variegated 
turnfole, croton vanegaUim, io remarkable for the 
beauty of their flowers and their foliage. 

The lawjhnui mermis^ called by the natives, 
howign'ia laca, is employed as on the continent of 
Afia, to ftain certain parts of the body, and par- 
ticularly the extremities of the fingers. The 
Chinefe make the mofl ufc of this article. 

Soon afterwards 1 came to a cottage, fur- 
rounded with a great number of cocoa-nuts, fuf- 
pended from the leaves of the roof, and from 
the adjoining trees. The owner of this cabin, 
pointing to his numerous family, told me that 
he was preparing to make a large plantation of 
cocoa-nut trees. Moll of thofe nuts had ger- 


minated, and he faid that the plants muft be 
about eighteen inches in height, before they were 
committed to the earth, affuring me that, but 
for this precaution, many of them would rot, 
without fpringing up. 

As the moment of our departure from Am^ 
boyna approached, I fent on board the collections, 
w^hich I had made in that charming illand, and 
on the 13th I followed them in perfon. 

14th. The exprefs orders, which had been if- 
fued the evening before, for every one belonging 
to the expedition to repair on board the frigates, 
made us fuppofe that every thing was ready for 
our departure^ and that nothing but contrary 
winds could prevent us from failing. A part, 
hovr'ever, of the water, which had been con*- 
fumed while we lay at anchor, ftill remained to 
be replaced ; and, as this bufmeis was not iinilhed 
till the afternoon, we could not take our depar- 
ture till the next day. 

The people belonging to the fhips w^ere very 
well fatisfied with this relaxation. They had en- 
joyed as much leifure as they could deiire, and 
Haves had even been employed to bring on board 
our complement of wood and water, in the large 
ihallops which they ca.\\yaco7i. 

Our fhip had been caulked, and having been 


Oct."] of la perouse. 399 

furveyed with fcrupulous attention, was found to 
be generally in good condition. 

The iiland of Amboyna, called Ambon by the 
natives, was then the Dutch government in In- 
dia, which ranked next to the general one of 

The latitude of the place of the obfervatory, 
towards the weftern extremity of the town, was 
found to be 3° 41^ 4o" S. and its longitude 
120^ 9' E. 

The variation of the compafs there, was 1'^ 13^ 
20" W. 

A flat dipping needle gave 3° of inclination. 

Although the heat was oppreflive, the ther- 
mometer varied regularly every day, only from 
22^ to 25°. 

The barometer kept conftantly at 28 inches 
two lines, its variation not exceeding one line. 

At the place where we lay at anchor, the time 
of high water, at the full and change of the 
moon, was at half an hour paft twelve at noon, 
and the water rofe about eight feet. The tides 
take place twice a day. 

The road of Amboyna forms a channel about 
10,200 toifes in length, and its mean breadth is 
about 3,400 toifes. In many places, towards the 
fides, there is good anchorage, notwithftanding 
that the bottom> in fome fituations, is coral. 


400 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

About the middle, the depth is too great for 

The fort, which is called Victory Fort, is built 
with bricks, and the Governor and fome of the 
members of the council refide in it» It was 
then falling into ruin, and from every gun vvhich 
was fired, it fuftained ibme damage. 

The garrifon was compofed of about two 
hundred men ; the greater part of them natives 
of the ifland ; the reft were European foldiers in 
the Company's fervice, and a weak detachment 
of the regiment of Wirtemberg. 

Moft of the European foldiers were tormented 
'with the defire of revifiting their native country ; 
but none of them had yet feen the happy mo- 
ment of return. Some who had been .amuled 
with this vain hope, for many years, were a fource 
of dejeAion to the reft. 

The fmall number of foldiers who furvive any 
long refidencc in India, renders thofe who have 
.paffed. fome years there, ftlil more valuable ; and 
hence the Dutch Eaft India Company feldom 
fulfil their promife to allow the men, whofe time 
is expired, to return to Europe., l^yerj method 
is tried, m order to induce them to make a frefli 
engagement ; and they who careiuUy avoid every ■ 
ftipulation, which carl tend to . prolong their 
. confinement in the ifland, do not the' fooner ob- 

Oct.] of la perOuse. 4oi 

tain their liberty. I have met fome of thofe un- 
happy men who had been detained in the illand 
more than twenty years ; although, in conformity 
with the terms of their agreement, they ought to 
have been then free. 

The Mand of Amboyna is divided into feveral 
diftri<5ls, which in many places, form fo many 
villages, called nygri. The command of each 
nygri is conferred on a native, who is decorated 
with the title of orancaye. This man, to whom 
the police of his little canton is entrufted, is him- 
felf altogether fubordinate to the Dutch govern- 
ment, to whom all weighty cafes are referred. 
The Dutch commonly chufe for orancayes, na- 
tives who profefs the Proteftant religion, prefer- 
ring the ancient chiefs, or their nearell relations, 
and above all thofe who are richeit. 

Each of thofe orancayes has the governmicnt of 
about one hundred natives. The Dutch Com- 
pany, when they invefl them with their autho- 
rity, prefent them with a filver-hilted fword. 
Thofe chiefs are cloathed in the European ftile, 
all in black, and they wear three-cocked hats, 
very much pointed and deprelTed. Of this drefs 
of ceremony, fhoes form a part, v^ h:ch they wear 
w^hen they arc obliged to appear in public, or in 
the prefence of their Dutch fuperiors. 

The title orancaye is compounded of two Ma- 

VoL. 1. C c layan 


layan words oran kaya, the literal tranllation of 
which is, a rich man. 

The dignity of orancaye, is by no means an 
empty title : it gives thofe petty chiefs the means 
of making their fortune, which they feldom fail 
to do, although very vexatioufly to thofe who are 
fubjecled to them ; for when raifmg contributions 
on the poor Amboynians, on account of the 
agents of the Company, they take care not to ne- 
gled: their own intereffcs. It neverthelefs happens, 
fometimes, that their fortunes decline fafter than 
they increafed, when the agents, of the Company 
find the means of turning the avarice of the oran- 
cayes to their own advantage. 

The inhabitants of Amboyna fpeak the Ma- 
layan language, which is very foft. Its analogy 
with the language fpokcn in the South Sea Iflands, 
has induced me to prcfent the reader, at the end 
of the fecond volume, with a very copious voca- 
bulary, which I coUec^ted at Amboyna and in the 
ifland of Java, where I remained a long time, at 
the clofe of this expedition. 

The ufe of betel has been eftabllfhed among 
thofe people, time immemorial. They take 
fome young leaves of the pepper tree called piper 
Jirihoa, in Malay y/r/", and having covered them 
with a little very fine lime, made of burnt ihells, 
and newly llaked, they chew them with the arec- 


Oct.] of la perouse' 4o3 

nut. Some of them always continue this amufe- 
ment, except when they are eating or lleeping. 
I was much furprized that, notwithftanding their 
incclTant ufe of hme, thofe people had in general 
very found teeth. They become, however, of a 
blacklfh colour, which penetrates the enamel 
withoiit diminifhing its polifh. They are in the 
practice of cleaning them frequently with a 
powder which is not very far fetched ; for it 
confifls merely of a calcareous ftone of moderate 
hardnefs, which they pound between two pieces 
of hard grey ftone. They alfo ufe a fmall quan- 
tity of this laft ftone, to rub the external part 
of their incifive teeth. 

Thofe people, not content with chewing the 
betel, import from Malacca an extradl of a bitter 
plant, known by the name oi gamher, which they 
ufe for maftication. 

Mountains of moderate elevation cover Am- 
boyna, and principally the eaftern part of that 

The coffee which they gather appeared to us 
inferior to that of the Ifles of France and of the 
Re-union. Befides, the Dutch fettled in the 
Moluccas, are very carelefs in its preparation. 
Their domeftics are in the pradlice of fubjedling 
it to a degree of torrefadtion, which almoft re- 
duces it to a cinder, in order that they may have 

Co 2 the 


the lefs trouble in pounding it, with the wooden 
peftles and mortars, which are the only machines 
they ufe for this purpofe. 

The greater part of the mariliy grounds are al- 
lotted to the cultivation of the fago tree, which 
furnifhes the inhaj^itants with wholefome food. 
It forms an article of their fea~ftores for long 
voyages, as does alfo the Canary almond, which 
they dry for prefervation. That almond has like- 
wife a vejy agreeable tafle when newly gathered. 

The rice confumed at Amboyna is not the pro- 
duce of that ifland. Yet it would fucceed well, 
on moft of the low lands, where the water which 
iffues from the bafes of the mountains, prefents 
very convenient fituations for its culture. But 
the Dutch Eaft India Company has prohibited 
the application of the land to this article ; be- 
caufe the purchafe of it drains from the ifland 
the fpecie paid by the Company for cloves. Thus 
thofe monopoUlls prevent the accumulation of 
ready money, and procure, at a very moderate 
rate, the produce of the labour of the inhabitents. 
Befides, as rice is much ufed by perfons in tole- 
rable circumltandcs, it is found to be a branch of 
lucrative commerce to the Company's agents, 
who import it chiefly from the ifland of Java. 

By fuch means that Government, exclufively 
coiifulting its own interefts, cramps the induftry 


Oct.] of la PEROtJSE. 405 

of the natives, by obliging them to abandon, ib 
to fpeak, every fort of cuhivation, except thofe- 
of cloves and nutmegs. 

The Dutch alfo take care to limit the cultiva- 
tion of fpices, in order that the quantity produced 
may not much exceed the ordinary demand. 
Thofe meafures, though de{lru6live of all activity 
are, hov^ever, well luited to the fupine difpo- 
fition of thofe people. 

Many farinaceous roots, and a variety of trees, 
afford them abundant fupplies of food, almofh 
without cultivation ; as if nature had thus in- 
tended to compenfate man, for the inactivity to 
which file feems to have condemned him, in Co 
fultry a climate. 

Engrafting would doubtlefs contribute to im- 
prove the various fruits produced in this ifland ; 
but no perfon, even among the Europeans, has 
yet fucceeded in that experiment ; for they have 
always allowed the joint to dry, before the circu- 
lation of the fap was iliirly eltablifhed between the 
{lock and the fcion. It would, however, have 
been eafy to prevent that accident by keeping the 
part in a fuitable ftate of moifture, till the junc- 
tion was fairly formed. 

The European kinds of puh'c are but little 
adapted to the heat of the climate. 

A very fmaU banana, Cc\lled p'^cvig radja, is 
C c 3 looked 


looked upon as the beft kind. Next to the Utcht 
and the mango, it appeared to me the beft fruit 
in Amboyna. They have ieveral fpecies of the 
litchi, among which ought to be reckoned the 
nephel'mm lappaceum, or the ramh-outan of the 
Malays. Thofe celebrated botanifts, Linnasus, 
Juffieu and G^ertner, were miftaken in the claf- 
fification of that genus ; doubtlefs, becaufe they 
had not an opportunity of examining its parts of 
frudlification, in a ftate of perfedlion. 

Lirmasus has clafled it among the euphorbia, 
Juffieu among the compofites, and Gaertner 
among the amentace^ ; but it evidently belongs 
to the tribe of foap-berry trees (Sapindus fapon- 
arm, Linn.). 

The fame reflridlive fyftem, which we experi- 
enced at the Cape of Good Hope, alfo prevails at 
Amboyna. In order to ptevent any augmenta- 
tion in the price of commodities, the Company 
undertook to furnifh us with provifions ; and gave 
the natives a trifling price, for articles which they 
fold to us at a very great advance. 

The Dutch have transformed a cuftom ftill 
more pernicious into a law, which authorizes 
the chiefs employed by the Company to take 
from the natives, without any payment, the pro- 
vifions neceffary for their daily confumption. 
Nothing can be imagined more opprcffive than 


Oct.] of la perouse. 407 

this arbitrary contribution. The moft laborious 
man, like the moft lazy, is almoft fure of being 
ftripped of every thing but a fcanty fubfiftence. 
Hence moft of the natives content themfelves 
with the eafieft fpecies of cultivation, paffing in 
idlenefs that time which, under a different go- 
vernment, they might have employed in placing 
themfelves in eafy circumftances. 

The fifcal, who fuperintends the police, com- 
pleats the oppreffion of the inhabitants. That 
officer has the power of impofmg, for his own 
henefit, pecuniary fines, which he fixes according 
to the meafure of his own rapacity, and the cir- 
cumftances of the natives, whom he is often pleaf- 
ed to find guilty, when they have not commit- 
ted the flighteft offence ! ! A Mr. M'Kay, how- 
ever, then exercifed that office in a manner very 
different from that of moft of his predecelTors. 
The inhabitants very much extolled his huma- 
nity, which was the more praife -worthy, as he 
had it in his power to do them every pofTible mif- 
chief with impunity. That brave man told us, 
that he preferred mediocrity of fortune to riches 
obtained by fuch means. Mr. M'Kay, when ex- 
plaining to us one day the prerogatives of his of- 
fice, informed us that fome of our failors h-ad 
caufed a riot, at an unfeafonable hour of the night, 
in the houfe of a very rich Chincfe, who fold 

C c 3 arrack 

408. VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l793. 

arrack and other fpmtuous liquors ; adding, with 
much franknefs, that the powers with which he 
was invefted entitled him to extort a large fum 
from the Chinefe, by way of fine, and to convert 
it to his ov.^n ufe, Others, faid he, would not 
have fcrupled to have availed themfelves of fuch 
an opportunity ; but I never had occafion to re- 
pent of my moderation. 

The clove is the principal article of produce at 
Amboyna, and feveral little iflands to the eaft- 
ward of it, where it fucceeds extremely well. The 
Dutch have placed refidents there, to prevent the 
exportation of that precious commodity. 

The nature of the foil of Banda appeared to me 
more favourable to the cultivation of nuLniegs 
than that of Amboyna; for it is generally acknow- 
ledged that the nutmegs of the latter ifJand are 
interior to thofe of the former. 

Nutmeg-trees and clove-trees were formerly 
diffufed over the iflands of Terriate, Tidor, Ma- 
kian, &c. in much greater abundance than in Am- 
boyna and Banda ; but the Dutch, determined to 
appropriate to themfelves the exclufive benefit of 
thofe precious trees, obliged the chiefs of the firft- 
mentioned iilands to deilroy the plantations of 
them. Their agents, who refide there, make very 
rigorous vifitations, in order to fee this order exe- 
cuted ; and thofe articles are only culiiivated at 


Oct.] of la perouse. 4oo 

Amboyna, and the other iflands immediately de- 
pendent on the Company, where they can exer- 
cife continual vigilance. This inquifition, im- 
poied by Dutch avarice, is very much fVuflrated 
by the birds, which convey to the neighbouring 
iflands the feeds of the fpice-trees from thofe 
where they are cultivated. This circumftance 
made the Company refolve to fettle refi dents in 
thofe iflands, whofe principal bufniefs it is, con- 
tinually to fearch tor and deftroy all the young 
fpice-trees they can meet with. But it alfo often 
happens that the feeds are dropped in fituations ib 
precipitous, as to efcape the moil adlive vigilance. 

The Haves introduced, into the Moluccas, are 
chiefly brought from Macaflar and Ccram. The 
women of Macaflar are generally of a m.iddiing 
flaturc, and have agreeable features. Their hair 
is not cnlped ; and their complexion, though flill 
more yellow than that of European women la- 
bouring under the chlorofis, yet procures them, 
from the natives of the Moluccas, the name of 
white women, paranpoiiang pout'i. 

Before the Dutch eftabliihed the flave-trade, 
the illandcrs of Ceram were in the barbarous 
prac5lice of devouring their prifoners of war. It 
is melancholy to learn that they have abandoned 
that atrocious cuflom, only becaufe they turn 
their captives to better account by felling them. 


410 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

If this change of fyftem has been attended with 
an apparent good, it muft alfo give rife to more 
frequent wars. Man muft indeed have funk to 
extreme degradation, when the introduction of 
flavery becomes inftrumental to his civilization ! 
This, however, may be faid of a people who were 
formerly cannibals. 

The Dutch fettled in the Moluccas, fpeak the 
Malayan language to their Haves ; taking fpecial 
care not to teach them their own mother-tongue, 
left the flaves Ihould underftand their converfation 
among themfelves. . • 

As foon as the Dutch had fecured the exclufive 
commerce of the Moluccas, they endeavoured to 
afcertain the population of thofe iflands, and, by 
exaggeration in that particular, in order to convey 
a great idea of the fubjugated country, they ftated 
it at 150,000 fouls, which, according to univerfal 
opinion, and the moft recent eftimates, is double 
the number of people in the Moluccas. 

The quantity of cloves annually produced in 
that fettlement is about 2,000 packages, each 
534 pounds avoirdupois. The crop of two years 
forms the cargoes of three fhips, two of which are 
fent in one year, and the third in the year fol- 
lowing. The quantity of cloves and nutmegs ex- 
ported fometimes exceeds the confumption ; and, 
in that cafe, it is well known that the Dutch 


Oct.] of la perouse. 411 

Eaft India Company burn the overplus, in order 
to keep thofe commodities always at the fame 

In fpite of all their anxiety to monopolize the 
fpice trade, it is computed that one-fiftieth part 
of the crop is annually fmuggled. As the fmall 
falaries of the Company's agents do not allow 
them to make their fortunes rapidly, feveral of 
them have recourfe to means of improving their 
fituation, which, though certainly dangerous, are 
eafily put in pradlice. And, notwithftanding all 
the vigilance of the Company, their fervants 
fucceed in depriving them of a fmall part of the 

It is not long fmce the Governor and Lieute- 
nant-Governor of Banda were depofed and fent 
to Batavia, for having converted to their own ufes 
part of the produce of that illand. But thofe 
abufes are come to fuch a pitch, that this ex- 
ample will only ferve to make others condu<fl 
their operations w^ith more addrefs, in order to 
prevent a difcovery. 

That contraband trade is more particularly 
carried on by means of the canoes of Ceram, in 
the vicinity of which the fpice illands are fitu- 
ated ; and the fpices thus procured are bartered, 
with Englifh fhips, for Indian filks, opium, fire- 
arms, gunpowder, lead, hardware and tin, which 


412 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792, 

the inhabitants of Ceram exceedingly value, con- 
verting it into bracelets, ear-rings, &c. Some of 
thofe articles are again fold at Amboyna. 

The Dutch have two factories at Ceram, one 
of them at its north-weft extremity, and the other 
at Savay. General Bougainville had been mif- 
informed when he faid, that they had been ex- 
pelled from this laft poft. They have loft, it is 
true, very extenfive pofteffions in other parts of 
that large iftand ; but they ftill retain their eftab- 
liftiment at Savay. 

The refident Vv^ho entertained General Bou- 
gainville, during his ftay at Bourou, had been dead 
feveral years. At Amboyna, we had the pleafure 
of feeing his widow, who has preferved an agree- 
able remembrance of that French gentleman. 
Such is her tafte for our language, that Ihe has 
employed all the means in her power, at that dif- 
tance from Europe, to have her children inftruc- 
tcd in it. 

The Chinefe are almoft the only ftrangers who 
are permitted to refidc at Amboyna ; but they 
are obliged to fubmit to naturalization, and thus 
can never return to their own country. They 
are permitted to trade among the Moluccas ; but 
it is only at Macaftar and Batavia, where velTels 
from China are permitted to enter, that they can 
procure Chinefe commodities. They are all ot 

a com- 

Oct.] of la perouse. 413 

a commercial turn ; and fome of them have pur- - 
chafed, at a very high price, the exclufive privi- 
lege of deaUng in certain articles ; and hence they 
fell them at exorbitant rates. They pradife all 
forts of expedients to get money, and hence their . 
reputation often fuffers exceedingly ; but, on that 
head, they feem to have loft all fenfibility. Some 
Jews, v/hom the Company permit to refide in 
the iiland, enter into commercial competitions 
with thofe Chinefe ; but the Ifraelites are no 
matches for them, the Chinefe having greatly the 
advantage, in point of numbers and connections. 
The colle6lor of the Company's revenue is a 
Chinefe, who is iikevv^ife charged with preferving 
the police among his countrymen eftabliihed in 
the ifland, and takes cognizance of fuch cafes as 
are not fiifficiently important to be referved for 
the decifion of the government of Amboyna. 
We one day paid him a vifit, in company with 
one of the minifters of the Proteftant perfuafion, 
and he entertained us with excellent tea. The 
table was covered with a great variety of well- 
preferved comfits ; one of the beft was the young 
nut of the fruit of the fago-palm. That chief, 
who is called the Chinefe Captain, ihowed us, 
with an air of fatisfa(5lion, his armorial efcut- 
cheons, variegated with a great number of co- 
lours. Thofe ornaments were profufely difplayed 


414 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

in the apartment where he received us, and his 
bed was hung round with them. 

His houfe, like thofe of his countrymen, waa 
in no refpe6t fimilar to thofe of the natives. 
The Chinefe build much more folidly. Their 
houfes are conftru6led like thofe of the Euro- 
peans, with fome difference in the diftribution of 
the apartments. The body of the building is of 
wood, and the walls of clay, thickly rough-caft, 
and afterwards covered with feveral coats of lime. 

The frequency of earthquakes and hurricanes 
makes the inhabitants prefer wooden houfes ; 
and fcarcely any other than the public buildings 
are of ftone. It almoft always happens, that in 
thofe moments of confternation the inhabitants 
are obliged to quit their habitations, and to betake 
themfelves to little cabins very fiightly conftru<5t- 
ed, where they are much more fafe than in their 
houfes, which the tempefts and the earthquakes 
fometimes overturn. 

We enjoyed excellent weather at Amboyna ; 
the winds were never violent, and thole which 
we had from the fouth-eaft and north- weft, were 
very weak. 

The market for the different fruits of the coun- 
try is in the Chinefe quarter. The Malays, like 
the Arabians, call it by the name of hazar. The 
dealers aiTemble there, chiefly in the evening, and 


Oct.] of la perouse. 415 

remain till nine at night, each of them being 
lighted with one or two torches, compofe'd of the 
refm called danimer, furnifhed by a fpecics of cycas, 
of the fame name : fdatmnara alba, RumpJi. Amh, 
vol. ii. chap, xii, tab. 57.) They inclofe this refin. 
in fago tree leaves, without any central wick. It 
burns with very little fmoke ; but care muft be 
taken to remove the covering, as it is reduced 
into a cinder, and to trim it level with the refm. 
Thofe people are lighted at a very fmall expence ; 
for a dammer torch, eight inches in length, and 
about an inch and a quarter in thicknefs, cofts 
them not one-fixtieth of a penny fterling, and 
yields a very clear light for three hours. Their 
cottages are lighted with the fame refm. 

Befides the fruit, there are fome other eatables 
fold in that Bazar. In a fultry climate, and aa 
extremely humid atmofphere, iifh would foon 
putrefy, if it was not quickly dried ; and hence 
more dried than frcfh fifh is fold in that market. 
When the fifli is prepared with the fmoke of a 
fmall fire, its tafte is preferred by the inhabitants 
to that of frefh fifli. 

The Molucca iflands, after having been long 
under the dominion of the Arabians, the Moors, 
and the Malays, came at laft under that of the 
Europeans. The Portuguefc, the Spaniards, and 
the Dutch, contended for that dominion, and ef- 


4iG V0TA<5E tN SEARf^H [l792, 

tablifhed their factories and their forts in thofe 
iflands. The Dutch finally prevailed, and have 
for many years enjoyed the monopoly of their 
ipices. Thofe ditterent lovereigns have produced 
fuch a change in the manners of the natives of 
Amboyna, that it is now difficult to difcover 
any traces of their original chara(!:ler. The Por- 
teguefe introduced among thofe people the ca- 
tholic religion. The Dutch have ufed their ut- 
moft efforts to render them Proteflants, thinking 
that one of the moll likely means to fubjugate 
them. Hence they have a great number of 
fchools, where the children of the natives are in- 
ftru6led in that religion, and in reading and 
■writing Malayan. Service is performed in that 
language, in a church appropriated to the ufe of 
the natives ; and in Dutch in another church, at- 
tended by the Europeans. There are two minifters 
belonging to each. 

The Chinefe, as may well be fuppofed, have a 
pagoda in this place. 

Some natives, who ftill adhere to the religion 
introduced by the Arabs and the Moors, are pro- ' 
vided with a mofque. The greateft number of 
true believers are fettled on the other fide of the 
road, to the northward of the town. The Dutch 
have fueceeded much better in making profelytes 
to their religion, in the vicinity of their principal 


Oct.] of la perouse. 417 

fettlemcnt. The iron rod, with which they crufh 
thofe miferable people, has reduced them Co nearly 
to the condition of llavery, that it will not excite' 
furprizc, if we obfervc in them fome of the vices, 
M^hich originate in that ftate of human degrada-; 

Although thofe people be habituated to reiign 
almoft every thing they poffefs to the Europeans, 
tliere is one article which they are not difpofed 
to refign to them. Jealoufy reigns among them 
to an extreme, which 'makes any indifcreet pro- 
pofal to their women very dangerous. In fuch a, 
cafe no dread of punifliment would prevent thcni 
from executing thieir vengeance. 5, 

• The Dutch rnen preferve their European clothes 
as a fort of ceremonial drefs ; but they have all 
veils with fleeves, in order that they may conve- 
niently throw off their coats, when the mafter of 
the houfe, to which they happen to be invited, 
fets them the example. On fuch occafions, thole 
who wear wigs, lay them afide, and put on large 
caps of very fine linen. ■. The European women 
over a petticoat, which falls very low, wear a 
gown made like a fliirt, as long as the petticoat, 
and which being divided in the fore part, is kept 
clofe to the body by a girdle. Their hair is form- 
ed into a fpiral behind the head, and faftened 
with two large pins, which crofs each other. 

Vol. I. D d Such 

418 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1792. 

Such is the ordinary drefs of the European ladies. 
The native women, in good circumftances, who- 
live in the town, wear dreffes of the fame form, 
but commonly bla,ck : by the country women, 
blue is preferred to- every other cofeur. 
- The female flaves wear a fort of fhift, by way 
of a gown ; but it is not divided before^ like that 
of the free women. 

The free men drefs their hair with a bent comb. 
The flaves tic it up with a handkerchief. 

The Chineie, it is well known, received fpices 
from the Moluccas many ages before thofe iilandsr 
were fcizeduponby the Europeans, The Greeks 
and Romans were alfo acquainted with them ;. 
and they were long obje^s of refearch with the 
Bavigators who firft penetrated into the oriental 

Thofe precious aromatics were then confined 
lb a fmall number of iflands; but have been 
fmce transplanted into very diftant countries, 
where they fucceed perfedlly well. We have 
grounds to hope, that our colony ot' Cayenne, wilJ 
one day rival the Moluccas, and by producing a 
much greater quantity of fpices, will diminifli 
their price, and bring them into more general 
ufe. Thofe articles are alfo fuccefsfully cultivated 
In the ifles of France and Bourbon. 

We took on board the Recherche two hinds 


Oct.] of la perouse. 4]q 

and a flag, with a defign to enrich New Holland 
with that beautiful fpecies of quadrupeds. 

We provided a good ftock of fowls, common 
ducks, and Senegal ducks, foies de Gu'wee.) 

The cazoard was not included among our live 
ftock. That bird, though kept in the poultry- 
yards at Amboyna, is not very ealily procured, 
not being a native of that ifland, but imported 
from the great iflands to the eaftward. It doe^ 
not well agree with long voyages, and befides its 
flefh is black, tough and dry. In proportion to 
the room, which it would have occupied on 
board, that bird would have afforded us much 
lefs food than the poultry w^hich wc had already 
provided ; for except its thighs which are mufcu- 
lar, being intended by nature for running, the 
refl of its body is of a very moderate fizc, in pro- 
portion to its height. 

Our roots were chiefly potatoes and yams. 

The beautiful leaves of the banana tree, and 
different kinds of melons adorned the ftern of 
our fhip. 

We bought a good number of hogs and goats. 

We took much care of our cow ; although hef 
milk was exhaufted ; for it would have beeil 
impoffible to have procured another. The fpecieS 
of buffalo common in India, is indeed a fort of 

D d 2 domeflic 


dorrieftic animal at _Amboyn'a; but the female 
of that quadruped gives little milk, and being al- 
moft untameabie, would have been very trouble- 
fome, not to fay dangerous, on board. 

Our butcher, whofe bufmefs it was to take care 
of the quadrupeds, could procure them little food 
but what was hard and ; dry, confifting, in a great 
meafure, of the anth'ijlma ctliat'a ; but happily, 
before we failed, he was enabled to provide the 
large flocks of banana trees which, for a long 
time, afforded thofe animals fucculent food. As 
they were allowed but little water, the abun- 
dant juice of thofe plants were extremely fervice- 
able to them. 

The Hour vshich we procured at Amboyna, 
was but oi a middling quality, and the quantity 
"Vvith which they could furniih us, was but about 
ll,000lbs avoirdupois. This fcarcity, yvhether 
real or pretended, obliged us to purchafe it at an 
exorbitant price. 

We found at Amboyna but few articles of Eu- 
ropean provifion. The Lieutenant- Go vernor, 
however, had a confiderable quantity of Ham- 
burgh beef, which is in great requeft among na- 
vigators. That officer very willingly let our Com- 
mander have a part of it ; but when we had got 
out, to fea, we difcovered that his fervants had 

^ ^ difhoneftlj 

Oct.] of la perouse. 421 

difhoneftly withheld the moft juicy pieces of the 
beef, and had fubftituted the fame weight of the 
bony and tendinous parts. 

The young Ihoots of the bamboo, cut into 
flices, and preferved in vinegar, are excellent 
pickles, in a long voyage, and we provided abun- 
dance of them. Thofe young Ihoots arc generally- 
very tender, if care be taken to gather them in 
proper time. They are fold in the market as 
pulfc, for which they are a good fubftitute. They 
are often above three feet in length, and confider- 
ably more than an inch in thicknefs.. 

We alfo furniflied ourfelv-es with doves and 
nutmegs, preferved in fugar. The rind of the 
nutmeg is the only part fit for this purpofc ; and 
unfortunately the blundering confccftioners had 
chofen fuch as were . too far advanced, as were 
alfo the cloves, which, having reached the Hze of 
middling olives, had acquired too much of the 
aromatic flavour to form an agreeable preferve. 
A man muft have an Indian palace, who "wifhes 
to enjoy thofe delicacies. I may fay the fame 
thing of the preferved ginger, with which .^we 
were provided. 

Our Itore of fago was by far too great ; for we 
ufed only a fmall part of it. Our people never 
could reconcile themielves to that food, wholc- 
fome as it was ; and, notwithllanding all the .ar- 

D d 3 gumcnts 


gumcnts of our chief furgeon, they, in fome 
nipnths, conceived fuch an averfion to it, as to 
give the preference to falted proviilons of the 
worfh quality. 

., We had but few hogflieads of wine remaining, 
"which were fit for ufe. The only fpirituous liquor 
we could procure was arrack, of which we pur- 
chafed feveral hogfheads. Some navigators are 
too lavllli in their praifes of that liquor, which 
is not even fo good as middling French brandy. 


Departure from Amhoyita — S'mgular Effect of the 
Tides — View of different Iflands — Ravages on 
Board, by the Species of Cockroach called Blatta 
Germanica — Run alo7ig the South-Weft Coajl of 
New HoUand — DeatJi of the Bhclfmith belongiffg 
to the Recherche — A Storm drives ns towards 
ike Coafi — JVe anchor in Leg rand Bay — The Ef 
perance, while at Anchor, Jofes two of her Rud^ 
der-irons — Her Mooring-chain gives Way — Af- 
ferent Excurfons on the 7ieig]ihouring Land — • 
:New Species of Swan — Sea-falt found at more 

' than one hundred Toifes in perpendicular Height 

' — That Fhdmomenon accounted for Citizen 

Riche lofes himfefon the Contitmit more than two 


Oct.] of la perouse. 42Z 

Days — Departure from Legrand Bay, and Goiitt' 
nuation of our Rtm along the Coaft^r-Want o^ 
Water obliges us to leave it — Arrival at Cape 
Diemen — Cafl Anchor in the Bay of Rocks, 

October 15th. 

WE only waited for a fair wind, to take our 
departure. At half an hour paft ieven A. 
M. having a fxnall breeze from the fouth-eaft we 
immediately weighed anchor, and about eleven 
o'clock, we had reached the entrance of the road, 
the weftem point q£ which bore W. 0° 15^ N. 
and the eaftern E. ^° 1 5^ S. our diftance from this 
lail; being about 1,200 toifes. 

Our meridian obfcrvations gave the latitude of 
the moft wefhcrly part of Ambojna, 3° 46^ 54" 
fouth, and its longitude 125° 5 3' 28' caii. 

The breeze continuing all the day at Ibuth-cail, 
Vie kept clofcto the wind, on the larboard -tack. 

One of the boys of the large Dutch Eafl-India- 
man, which had juft failed for Batavia, had hid 
himfelt on board the Recherche, and made his 
appearance at the very inliant when the Captain 
of the Efperance, acquainted tlic Ocncral, that he 
had difcovered, on board his fhip, fix fugitives 
from Amboyna, namely, three of the Company's 
foldiers, a failor and two negro flaves. Thofe un- 
happy men had made their efcape from a country, 

D d 4 where 

424 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

where they groaned under an almoft equal ftate 
of fervitude ! 

The Commodore had allowed the people to 
bring pigs and fowls on board, lor their private 
ufe ; and all parts of the fliip were lumbered with 
them, but efpecially between decks ; and they 
were the more troublefome, as the difagreeablc 
odour which they diffufed, was confiderably in- 
creafed by the heat of the climate. 

•igth. This evening, w^hen we were in latitude 
7° 10' fouth, and longitude 123° 14^ eaft, the 
compafs had no variation. 

21 ft. This morning early > we faw a phceno- 
menon, which we had already obferved feveral 
times, and which never fails to alarm navigators, 
who fometimes, during the night, take it for the 
efFe(5l of breakers. The air being fcarcely in m^o- 
tion, Ave obferved the fea foaming at fome diftance. 
V/aves followed each other in quick fucceffion, 
and we were iufl: approaching to the fpot. A very 
heavy fwell, occafioned by the fca receiving an 
impulfe contrary to that communicated to it in 
the preceding night, fucceeded the agitation of 
the water. The caufe appeared to me to depend 
on the tide ftruggling between lands, where the 
currents acquire a velocity proportioned to the 
confinement of the channel. 

About nine o'clock in the morning, we faw 


Oct.] of la perouse. 425 

KiiTer ifland, extending from S. to E | S. E. It 
is very mountainous, efpecially on the weftern 
fide. Its greateft dimeniion is from W. S. W. to 
E. N. E. It is fituated in 8° 1 3^ 2" fouth latitude 
and 123° 32'' X"/" eaft longitude. 

Dark weather prevented us, till about three 
o'clock P. M. from feeing the north fide of the 
ifland of Timor, although our diftance from it 
was then but about 5,000 toifes. Its lofty moun- 
tains rofe above the clouds, and during the night 
we had obferved, fires at ditferent elevations, on 
their fides. Doubtlefs the inhabitants, at thofe 
altitudes, find it comfortable to correA by fires 
the cold air of the night, and perhaps alfo they 
may ufe them to fray away the wild bcafts. Thofe 
fires ferved as fo many light-houfcs to dire<^ our 
courfe along fhore, when fome gentle breezes in- 
terrupted the calm which prevailed for a great 
part of the night. 

24th. About feven in the morning, we were 
within 2,500 toifes of Laphao, a little Portu- 
guefe fettlement, on the weft fide of Timor, in 
lat. Q" 22' 45" S. and long. 122° 23' -36" E. 

The Portuguefe flag hoifted there, bore S. 30°E. 
They faluted us with five guns. A canoe with 
a double outrigger, immediately came off to view 
our fliips, to which it very nearly approached; 


426 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

but initantly returned towards the fliore, without 
flailing us. On coming ftill nearer the land, we 
faw both natives and canoes, upon the fandy 
beach. We founded feveral times, with thirty 
fathoms of line ; but found no bottom. 

About four o'clock P. M. we faw the Ifland of 
Batou, bearing fouth-eaiV, diilant about 10,000 
toifes. Ft is feparated from Timor, only by an 
interval of 2,50^0 toifes. 

20th. Calms being frequent on the coafl: of 
Timor, we Hood off Ihore this afternoon, by help 
of a breeze from the fouth, and fteered towards 
the weft ; but without finding a fteadier wind. 
Thofe calms appear to be cauled by the heats, 
which at that feafon of the year are the more vio-^ 
lent, as the fun darts his rays almoft perpendicu- 

The continuance of the calms renders the na- 
vigation very troublefome along thofe coafts, on 
which there is always danger of being thrown by 
the currents. The great irregularity of thofe 
currents, renders it very difficult to conftrud 
charts of thofe coafts ; and hence the great dif- 
agreement between thofe which have been hi- 
therto offered to the pviblic. 

A great number of whales of different fpecies, , 
feveral times furrounded our Ihip, and leaped out 


Oct.] of la perousE. 427 

of the water clofe alongfide. From the little 
fear with which they approached us, we concluded 
that they had never been purfued by fiflicrs. 

We were peftered with the fpecies of parrot 
called lorries, of which our people had bought a 
great number at Amboyna. Their piercing cries 
gave us no reft in the day time. Their new fitua- 
tion, on board fliip, did not agree with them, for 
they died daily. They were feized with convul- 
ilons for which we found vitriolic ether a pallia- 
• tive ; but it did not preferve their lives. 

The mortality alfo fpread among our featherecj 
ftock, the greater part of which were feized with 
violent difeafes in the eyes, in confequence of the 
coldnefs of the nights ; and thofe which were -de- 
prived of fight, foon died of hunger. It would, 
however, have tkeen very eafy to have prevented 
that difagreeable circumftance, by iheltering them 
from the night air, with a fail properly fpread 
over their coops. 

The w'ater, which we toojc in at Amboyna, 
(did not juftify the great encomiums beflowed 
upon it, for keeping well at fea. It had already 
becorrie fo putrid, that it could not be drunk, till 
the inflammable air, with which fortunately it 
was but weakly united, had been expelled by 
ftrong agitation. This unejcpedted decompofitioii 
certi^ioly arofe from the negligence with which, 


■i:'.i i 

428 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [1/92, 

the cafks had been cleanfed. There remained 
enough of the fermentative principle of the old 
water, quickly to corrupt the new. 

It is certainly very difagreeable to be obliged 
to drink the corrupted water of fait marfhes ; 
but it is encouraging to know that by agitating it 
fome minutes, as I havcfhown, it refumes its ori- 
ginal purity. 

At half an hour paft four A. M. we faw, by 
flar light, the illand of Savu, extending from 
W. 13° S. to S. 2f W. at the diftance of 1,000 
toifes. We fteered weft, in order to pafs to the 
northward of that little ifland ; and about half 
paft nine, we were a-breaft of the bay in which 
Captain Cook anchored, in his fecond voyage, 
^after having paffed Endeavour Straits. We dif- 
tinguifhed five canoes plying very near the Ihore, 
where they were fheltered from the waves, which 
ipent their force upon a little reef, level with the 

The ifland of Savu prefcnts an enchanting pro- 
fpeft ; being interfed:ed, efpecially towards the 
fouth-weft, by very beautiful hills, whofe gentle 
declivity feems to offer to the natives a foil of eafy 
and favourable cultivation. 

Groups of cocoa-nut trees fcattered on the 
(hore, afford fhelter to fome cottages, which ad- 
ditionally embelliili thofe charming plantations. 


Oct.] of la perouse^ 42^ 

That if] and, on which the Dutch haye a fmall 
•lettlement, is in 10° 25^ 4H" S. lat. and 119° 45' 
] q" E. longitude. 

About noon, a httle ifland, within our view, 
extended from S. 4(5° 3o^ W. to S. 57° 30' W. 
at the diftance of 7>500 toifes. It appeared to 
us not to exceed 5,100 toifes in length. Its lati- 
tude is 10° 28' 50" S. and its longitude 1 19° 50/ 
17" E. 

29th. At fix o'clock A. M. New Savu bore E. 
31'' 30^ S. at the diftance of about 5,100 toifes. 
That little ifland, which is very low, is in 1 0" 
37' 28" S. lat. and 1 19° 2^ 47" E. longitude. 

At fun-fct, we faw" a part of the illand of San 
del Bofe, in the N. N. E. diftant about 2 0,5 00 
toifes. It is covered with mountains of a mode- 
rate elevation, and is fituated in 10° 27' 4" S. lat. 
and 1 18° 6' 34" E. longitude. 

The pofition of a little ifland, which bore from 
N. 1° E. to N. 30 30' W. at 20,5oo toifes diftance, 
was afcertained to be 10° 27' S. lat. and 118° 7' 
5" E. longitude. 

30th. This day the current ceafed to fet wefl- 
ward, and carried us ten minutes northward. 
The bight in the coaft of New Holland to the 
fouth ward of Timor, probably caufes this different 
diredion of the currents, which conftantiy fet 
from eail to weft through Endeavour Strait ; for 
: they 

436 VOlTAGI: IN SEARCH [l/O^. 

they foon refumed their wefterly direction, and 
carried us from 20 to 24 minutes daily. 

It muft be obferved, that Captain Cook> after 
having paffed Endeavour Strait, experienced,- like 
us, a change in the currents, for twenty-four 
hours, but in a ftill greater degree than we did. 

3lft. After lofmg fight of San del Bofe, we 
met with no other land till our arrival on the 
fouth-wefl; coafl of New Holland. The light 
winds which we experienced, made us appr^hen- 
five, that w^e fhould arrive on that coaft, too late 
to iinilh. our furvey of it. 

November 3d. In the afternoon of this day, 
■^ve were probably at no great diflance from fome 
rocks, for we were furrounded with a great num- 
ber of birds, which never venture far from the 
land, and we did not lofe fight of them, till the 
approach of night. 

4th. We continued to fee many birds this day. 
Navigators in traversing thofe feas, ought to re- 
double their vigilance, in order to avoid the rocks, 
which thofe birds frequent. 

l6th. Our ftag fell over board during the 
night, through an opening, left at the extremity 
of the gangway, much larger than neccffity re- 
quired. Befides this lofs, wc had to regret that 
one of our hinds had been delivered over to the 
butcher's knife, bccauic it was dying with fick- 


Nov.] 'of LA PEROl^SE. 4^1 

nefs. We acquainted Captain Huon With thi* 
accident, begging him to take all pofUblc cafe of 
his ftag ; but it died before our arrival in New 

We paiTed the Trials at too great a diftance to 
have a view of them ; but we iaw a great num- 
ber of birds, which doubtlefs took fheiter there 
during the night. 

The fpecies of cockroach, called blatfa germa- 
nica, had multiplied to fuch a degree, during th€ 
months we had palfed between the tropics, as to 
incommode us exceedingly. Thofe infeds, not 
contented with our bifcuits, gnawed our linen, 
paper, &c. Nothing came amifs to them. Their 
tafte for vegetable acids was furprizing ; no iboner 
was a citron opened than they attacked it ; but 
it was ftill more aftohilhing to obferve the rapi- 
dity with which they emptied my ink-glafs, when 
I happened to leave it open. The caufiiicity of 
the vitriol which they fwallowed, appeared to 
have no bad efFed: on them. 

The fugar extracted from the fago-tree, which 
we brought from Amboyna was a bait, which 
they could not refift. We deftroyed great num- 
bers of them, by mixing a fmall quantity of that 
fugar with water in a vefTcl, into which they 

Thofe infers tormented us dill more in the 


435 VOYAGE IN SEARCa [l 792« 

night than in the day^ They continually difturbed 
our repofe, by paffing over any part of our bodies 
which happened to be uncovered. 

The cockroach, called hlatta ortenialiSf made 
its appearance on board fdon after our departure 
from Breft ; but it foon took leave of us, and its 
place was fupplied by the firft mentioned fpecies* 

17th. This day w^e were carried 38'' to the 
north- weft. The Trials, from which we Wfcre 
not far diftant, and.fome fhoals, doubticfs caufed 
vejy ftrong currents. 

, 1 gth. This day we paiTed the tropic of Capri- 
corn. The mercury in the barometer role, on 
the fame day, to 28 inches 5 lines, which appeared 
the more furprizing, as it varies but little in the 
tropical regions. It was befides the only in- 
ftance, in our whole voyage, in which it rofe fo 
high in fuch a latitude. Although the thermo- 
meter was not lower than 18°, we experienced a 
keen fenfation of cold. 

21ft. We began tp meet wath variable winds, 
bein^ in latitude 25° S. 

Our goats daily perifhed for want of proper 
food. We loft at the rate of two in the day. 

28th. About five o'clock P. M. the Efperance 
being to windward, had very nearly run foul of 
us ; though the wind was favourable for fteering. 
That piece of negligence in the officer of the 


jDec] of la PEROUSEi 438 

watch, might greatly have injured the fhips, and 
might have obhged us to abandon our defign of 
viiiting the fouth-wefl coaft of New Holland, 
which it was our bufmefs to explore, without 
lofs of time. But fortunately a boom, placed in 
the critical moment between the Ihips, prevent- 
ed the accident. 

December 6th. The appearance of feveral 
fpecies of fea-gulls, and other birds, which never 
flray far from the coaft, indicated our proximity 
to land. The wind blew too violently from the 
S. S. W. to permit us immediately to ftand in 
for it with fafety. Befides, the fea having been 
ftrongly agitated, and the horizon much ob- 
fcured with clouds, we refolved to fteer S. E. | S. 
hoping that next day circumftances would be 
more favourable. 

At noon, we found our latitude to be 34° 12^ 
fouth, and our longitude 112^ eaft. 

We lay to all night, founding many times 
with 1 1 2 fathoms of line, without finding any 

7t^. About half paft two in the morning, we 
were fteering E. S. E. and at day-break, the Ef- 
perance made the fignal for land at N. E. diftant 
about 15,400 toifes. It was the weftern extre- 
mity of the fouth- weft cojift of New Holland, 

Vol. I. E e difcovercd 


difcovered by Lewen in l622 ; being a low land^ 
extending from N. W. to S. W.* 

At fix o'clock v/e tried, E. I S. E. and when 
we came within 5,000 toifes of the coaft, we 
followed its direction towards the S. E. A very 
ftrong gale at W. N. W. drove us at the rate of" 
15,400 toifes in the hour. 

The interior country was interfperfed with 
fandy downs, which had the appearance of the 
greatefl: fterility. Thofe fmall hills, fcattered on 
a flat country, looked at a diftance like little 
iflands. In the intervals which feparated them 
were fome flirubs, the blackifh foliage of which^ 
■indicated a ftate of fuiFering. 

The peaked rocks, which rofe in the midft of 
thofe fandy plains, the explained formation of 
the downs, the bafes of which were doubtlefs 
compofed of other rocks of the fame nature, but 
of forms more favourable to the accumulation of 
the fand by the winds. 

Frefli water muft be fcarce in fuch fandy re- 
gions, where that which falls from the clouds 
doubtlefs penetrates to great depths, without 
meeting with ftrata to ftop their progrefs. 

This morning our blackfmith was found dead 

* Should not this laft bearing be S, E. ? — Tran/Iatcry 


Dec] of la perouse. - 435 

in his hammock. The preceding evening- he 
had partaken of a feafl, which the gunners for- 
merly ufed to celebrate with exadnefs. They 
had long been faving a confiderable part of their 
provifions for this entertainment. The unfortu- 
nate fon of Vulcan, extenuated, like the reft of 
us, by the abftinence to which we had been con- 
demned fnice our departure from Amboyna, had 
too much indulged his appetite, and we were de- 
p«rived of him by a ftroke of the apoplexy. Tiiis 
lofs would have been irreparable, if good fortune 
had not condud:ed on board of our fliip, at the 
Cape of Good Hope, the very intelligent work* 
man who fucceeded him. 

At noon, being in latitude 34*' 45^ 36" fouth, 
and longitude 113° 38^ 56", the neareft part of 
the coaft bore N. E. diftant 5,100 toifes ; and 
the land we faw, fet from W. 15° S. to E. 40° 
30' S. 

The mountains now began to affume the ap- 
pearance of a regular chain, the higheft of which 
did not fecm to exceed 200 toifes in perpendicu- 
lar elevation. We obferved large trails of them 
entirely denuded of vegetation : in other places? 
feeble flirubs were fparingly fcattered, with here 
and there a tree of moderate height. 

The mountains fometimes prefented feveral 
•chains, rifmg by degrees above each other, 

E e 2 At 


At four o'clock P. M. we faw Ibitie breakers 
hear the coaft, and a little to the eailward, two 
rocks 510 toifes from the beach, and which \vc 
paffed at a very fmall diftarice. The largeil was 
remarkable for a feparation in the middle, from 
which rofe perpendicutafly, about twenty-five 
toifes above the level of the fea, an ifolated piece, 
in the form of a very flat plate. I took it and 
its bafe, to be compofed of a fort of hard grey 
ftone. We admired the fine effedlof the weaves, 
w^hich rifmg to the very fummit of the rock, 
aflumed a colour perfed;ly white, and defcend* 
ing again in foam, difptayed that fmgular rock^, 
as if it had jufl emerged from the bofom of the 

The coafl then extended very regularly towards 
E. S. E. its little bights being terminated by 
points, the mofl proininent of which fcarcely 
advanced 1,000 toifes into the fea. 

Being driven by an impetuous wind, we were 
not without apprehenfions, on finding ourfelves 
{6 near a coafh which offered us not the leait 
fhelter ; but we clawed off during the night, by 
fleering S. S. W. A very rough fea from the 
W. N. W. made our fhip labour prodigioufly. 
Having been fo long accuflomed to navigate 
fmooth feas, we had loft the habit of fupporting 
fuch violent agitation : the wind blew in impe- 

Dec] of la perouse. ' 437 

tuous fqualls, and allowed us to carry very little 

8th. About half an hour paft fix this morning 
we ftood to the north-eaft, towards the land, near 
to which a ftrong breeze at weft foon carried us ; 
but w^e fell to leeward. The coaft then ftretch- 
ed almoft diredily eaftward ; and the interior land 
prefented the fanie appearance as on the preced- 
iijg day. We obferved vaft yellowifh tracks, 
w hich appeared to conllft of hard ftone, on which 
wx did not diftinguifh the fmalleft trace of ve- 

At noon our latitude was 35° 1/^ foKth, and 
our longitude 115" 12^ caft. In a little time the 
mountains fubfided, and we came in fight of a 
vaft plain of fand, in which were interfperfed, at 
great diftances, little hills, of which fome formed 
.capes, advancing a fmall way into the fea. 

About four o'clock P. M, we paifed a clufter of 
rocks, fituated near the coaft, and fcarccly cover- 
ed with flirubs, the difmal green of vihich was a 
proof of the fteriljty of the foil.. At fix, we were 
abrcaft of a bay, of which we could not fee the 
fartheft extremity. It would have afforded us 
.pcrfcd; fecurity againft the impetuous winds 
which blew, while we were upon tliat coaft. A 
foreland; which advanced from the north- weft to 

E c 3 the 


the fouth-eaft, near 5,ooo toifes into the fea, 
fome little iflands and feveral rocks, fituated at 
the entrance of that bay, prefented abundant pro- 
tection from the winds in the offing ; but the 
waves ran fo high as to prevent us from fending 
a boat to found it. 

We lay to during the whole night. 
Being about 2,500 toifes from the fhore, we 
had foundings with 42 fathoms of line, the bot- 
tom being ilieils and bits of coral mixed with very 
tranfparent quartzofe fand, "vvhich feemed to me 
an indication that we fliould have found a good 
bottom in the bay which we had pafled. 

gth. During the night, a clear iky permitted 
us to fee the land, from which we ftood off a 
little, having dill the fame kind of bottom. 

The weft wind was not very violent, and at 
half paft four in the morning, we made fail, in 
order to ftand along the coaft, which trended to- 
w^ards the north-eaft, and a httle farther on, to- 
wards the eail: and the fouth-eaft. 

At eight o'clock we pafled a bay, which ap- 
peared to reach 15,400 toifes into the land, and 
to have an opening of at leaft equal extent. It is 
expofed to the fouth-eaft wind, but fecure againft 
that of the weil. 

Farther on, we faw in the offing fomiC little 
,yock?, not very diftant from the ffiore. 


Pec] of la perouse. 43g 

At noon, being in latitude 34° 48^ fouth, and 
longitude 1 iG^ 52^ eaft, we iliw, within the land, 
N. 4" W. a mountain mofe elevated than any 
■which we had obferved, on the preceding days. 
Being ifoiated amidft vaft plains of land, it pro- 
duced a very pidiurefque efFexfl, and appear-ed to 
be about 25,500 toifes diftan-t from the coaft. 
Its Ihattercd iiimmit expofed to view many irre- 
gular peaks, molt of them perpendicular. Such 
peaks indeed extended over the whole mountain, 
which ftretchcd 7,<3oo toifes from eaft to wxft. 
This configuration left no room to doubt, that 
the rocks of which itconfifted were not extremely 

We had not yet ieen the leaft indication of in- 
habitants, fmce we began to coafl: thofe llerile 
lliores. It was to be fuppofed, that fome Iprings 
of frelli water would attratft them to the bale of 
that mountain ; and accordingly the fmoke ot 
two fires, which they had kindled, convinced us 
of their prefence. 

About half pall four ©"dock P. M. after having 
doubled a cape terminated by fome rocks near 
the lliore, we came abreall: of a bay as wide as 
that which we had feen in the morning, but not 
i-eaching fo fur into the la^id. The lurroundmg 
land was generally very low ; but w-e obferved, 
towards its calicrn part, fome little hills detached 

E e 4 from 


from each other. It offers excellent fhelter from 
weft and fouth-weft winds ; but it is entirely ex- 
pofed to thofe of the fouth-eaft. 

Tropical birds with red ftreaks, and fome al- 
batrolfes, of a darker colour than thofe commonly 
feen at the Cape of Good Hope, flew around the 
lliip. "^ 

We lay to all night, and founding every hour, 
Y/e had conftantly thirty-three fathoms of water, 
with a bottom of grey fand. 

10th. At half paft four in the morning, we 
ftood towards N. i N. E to get in with the coaft, 
and we foon faw it extending from N. 2^^ E. to 
W. 25° N. A clear horizon permitted us to fee 
other low lands, ftretching towards the north- 

We foon after paiTed between the main land 
and the reefs, which were 10,200 toifes diftant 
from it. About eight o'clock, we left others, 
l_',8oo toifes diftant ; and it was not long till we 
faw, that a little ifland w^hich we perceived to- 
wards the eaft, was connefted to the land by a 
chain of reefs whiv.h, advancing into the offing, 
otlig :d us to keep on its fouth fide till we had 
doubled it. 

Three fires fucceffively kindled o.n the point of 
land, where the reefs originated, apprized us that 
the natives were on that ipot. The produce of 


Dec] of la perouse. 441 

the fea is doubtlefs the principal refource of thofe 
people, who inhabit fo barren a foil. 

At noon, we were in 34° 11^ fouth latitude, 
and 1 1 8° 22'' eaft longitude, when the little illand 
already mentioned bore N. 38° W. at the dif- 
tance of 1,020 toifes. 

Other -£res lighted along the coaft, fent up 
large columns of fmoke, intended no doubt, bj 
the inhabitants, to let us know that they were 

About half paft four o'clock, we ftood away 
from a little illand, diftant 20,500 toifes from 
the coaft. It was joined to a feries of reefs, which 
extended above 5 1 toifes towards the eaft. The 
lead then indicated ten fathoms water, but fome 
time afterwards, twenty -one fathoms of line did 
not reach the bottom. 

We were becalmed, a fhort fpace, towards the 
clofe of the day ; but a fmall breeze at fouth-eail 
foon fprung up, and permitted us to ftretch to 
the fouth- weft, which courfe we held during the 
whole night. 

We hove the lead every hour, and had a bot- 
tom of quartzofe fand, mixed with broken lliells 
and coral, at a depth varying from twenty-five to 
thirty-three fathoms. 

11th. This morning, we ftood towards the 


44^ VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l702. 

eaft, with all fails fet, having a frefh breeze fron; 
the W. N. W. 

At fix o'clock A. M. The mercury in the ba- 
rometer had fallen more than three lines. Al- 
though the weather was fine, this certain indica- 
tion of a great lofs of equilibrium in. the atmo- 
fphere, merited ferious attention. We neverthe- 
lefs advanced before the wind, towards the centre 
of a group of little iflands, about 5,100 toifes from 
the coaft, although we were uncertain cf finding 
a pafiage between them, when wc faw them" at 
a diftance. About ten o'clock, when wc were 
intangled among them, we difcovcred that they 
were joined together by reefs. The fky aifumed 
a menacing afpe(fl:, the horizon lowered in the 
W. S. W. and prefently the v/ind blew from that 
point, with the greateft impetuofity. It was to 
no purpofe, that we fpent a long time in feeking 
among thofe reefs an opening, which might al- 
low us a pafiage into the open fea; and as we had 
no other than that by which wc had entered, we 
put about, in order to gain it. The impetuofity 
of the tempeft having forced us to furl mofi; of 
our fails, the Ihip fell off fo much, that we went 
to leeward of our intended exit. Our running 
rigging giving way on all fides, our manoeuvres 
.were much retarded. Our repeated attempts to 


Dec] of la perouse. 443 

extricate ourfelves, were unfuccefsful : we always 
fell back into our dangerous fituation, there to 
beat about, in a fpace abounding with funken 
rocks, at different depths, on which the iliip was 
in danger every inftant of being dafhcd to pieces ; 
and it required an experienced eye to diftinguifh 
thofe rocks, in a fca fo ftrongly agitated. Citizen 
Raoul, a very fkilful young mariner^ in whom 
our Commander had great confidence, was at 
the mafl head, directing the movements of the 
Ihip. Many times we were carried clofe to rocks 
concealed by the waves ; but he conducted us 
fafely paft them all, though it was very difficult 
to diftinguifli them, even at a fmall diftance. 

The Efperance, which did not keep to wind- 
ward fo well as our fhip, was clofe in with the 
fhore, havinp" no other alternative than to caft an- 
chor or be flranded. About one P. M. we faw 
her at a conllderable diftance, in a place where 
we did not think flie could come to an anchor. 
She had clued up all her fails ; and we were very 
uneafy about her, being apprehenfive that flie had 
ftruck. But the iteadinefs of her mafls foon re- 
moved our fears, by fliewing us that ihe was riding 
at anchor. Her dillance, however, and the force 
of the wind, hindered us from diftinguifhing her 

We did not hcfitate to have recourfe to the 



fame Ihelter. The Commodore immediately gave 
orders to bear down under the fore-fail ; and we 
were foon alongfide of the Efperance, which was 
feebly defended from the waves by a little ifland. 
We were advifed by thofe on board that frigate, 
to fteer clofe to the land, in order to obtain a bet- 
ter ftation than they. In approaching near to 
the little illand, we had the frightful fpe^lacle of 
an impetuous fea which, when it had cleared the 
fouth point, opened, by its precipitate fury, a 
gulph which expofed to view part of the bafe of 
the rock. The dread of coming too near the land 
induced us to let go our anchor to windward of 
the Efperance, but not fufficiently within the 
anchoring place, to avoid falling foul of her, if 
our fhip fliould drag her anchors. The danger 
was fo much the greater, as our Iheet-anchor 
could not hold faft the fliip. The axes were in 
readinefs to cut the mafts, in order to give lefs 
hold to the wind, when our bell bower fecured 
us in our pofition. 

We now rode at anchor in nineteen fathoms 
of water, with a bottom of quartzofe fand, mixed 
with broken Ihells. 

We were violently agitated by the waves, and 
expofed to almoft the whole force of the wind ; 
and we were apprehenfive that our cables woul.d 
give w^ay, in which cafe we muH have been dafh- 


Dec] of la perouse. 445 

ed upon the rocks, where the waves broke in a 

tremendous manner. 

In the evening, we let go a tl)ird anchor, to 

give us more fecurity againft fuch violent agita- 

12th. The mercury in the barometer, which 
had funk to 27 inches 8§ lines, fenfibly rofe, as 
foon as day light appeared, and announced to us 
the termination of the tempeft. 

The furge having confiderably abated, Captain 
Huon fent his boat to tell us, that on the preced- 
ing day, the Efperance was driving towards the 
land fo rapidly, that ihe was on the point of being 
ftranded, when Citizen Legrand, an officer of 
diftinguillicd merit, went to the maft-head, in the 
Very midll of the tempeft, and almofl; immedi- 
ately came down, exclaiming with enthufiafra, 
that the fiiip was out of danger ! He then pointed 
out the anchoring- place, w^hich he had viewed, 
and in which he was certain that fhe would ride 
in fafety. This difcovery favcd both the lliips ; 
for the Recherche, obliged to beat about in the 
night among dangerous rocks, after ftruggling as 
long as fhe could, againft the tempeft, in hopes 
that a chansre of the wind would enable her to 


get into the open fea, would at lafl have been 
mfallibly wrecked. 
■ We gave to that bay the name of Citizen Le- 

446 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792* 

grand, which will recal the fignal fervice which 
that able mariner rendered to our expedition. His 
advice was to come to nearer the land, and it was 
to be regretted that it was not followed, for the 
larboard chain by which the Efperance rode gave 
way in the night by the force of the waves, and 
that frigate fwinging by one anchor, would foon 
have been driven afhore, if another anchor had 
not fortunately taken hold. That fhip had alfo 
loll: tvt'o of her rudder-irons, and had no fpare 
ones to replace them. They were broken by the 
violent fliocks of the waves againft the rudder, 
in the combined motion of pitching and rolling. 
The motion of pitching, all things elfe alike, is 
much quicker at anchor than at fea. 

From the place where we lay at anchor, we 
reckoned twelve little iflands, befides^the rocka 
a;nd breakers, v.'hich atforded us llielter. The fea^ 
in that vail: bafui^ fent in very heavy waves ; but 
fortunately we were anchored in good holding 

The little iflandj to leeward of which we lay 
at anchor, bore from S. 25° W, to W. 3^^ N. 

In the morning, a boat was fent thither from 
each fnip, to take the foundings ; for we intended 
to come nearer to it. They found every where an 
excellent bottom, and eight fathoms of water, at 
a fmall dillance from the land. 


Dec] of la perouse. 447 

Some perfons, in order to get on fhore, were 
obliged to plunge into the water, for the boat 
would have been ilove, if it had gone near enough 
to fet them on Ihorc dry. 

Many Icais, of the fpecles which BufFon deno- 
minates petit phoque, and Linnaeus phoca puJtlJa, 
bafked quietly in the fun^ upon the rocks and the 
fandy beach ; and fonie of them allowed them- 
felves to be knocked on the head. It is proper to 
obferve, that the figure which BufFon gives this 
amphibious animal, has undoubtedly been taken 
from a fkin badly ftuifed ; for it reprcfents the 
neck much fmaller than the head, as is the caie 
in moft quadrupeds ; but the fcal being formed 
for fwimming, has nearly the fhape of a filli, the 
head being lefs than the neck. 

In the fame figure, the ears are reprefented as 
very open, whereas they are nearly of a conical 
fhape, without any other aperture than a longitu- 
dinal flit. It would feem that nature intended 
to hinder the water from entering the ears of 
that animal ; for he has the power of fhutting 
them clofely when under the water, and of open* 
ing them, though flightly, when he emerges. 

On the fame illand, there was a numerous flock 
of fwans, fevcral of wliich allowed themfelves to 
be taken by the hand ; but the reft, apprized of 
ihe danger, immediately flew away. This new 


44$ VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

fpecies. Is fomewhat fmaller than our wild fwan, 
and of an afh-coloured grey, a little lighter on 
the belly. The bill is blackifh, with a tumour 
of a fulphur-yellow at its bafe. The legs are 
ilightly tinged with red. 

Our main-fail had fuffered a fmall rent when 
we wxre flruggling againft the tempeft the pre- 
ceding day. This morning we availed ourfelves 
of the fine weather, and Ihifted it. 

loth. A fmall breeze at fouth-eaft, fucceeded 
the tempeft. As the moment was favourable, 
we warped, early in the morning, nearer to the 
Ihore, from whence we w^ere then diftant but 
about 150 toifes. 

I landed on the little illand on the fouth-weft 
of us. It Is mountainous, and not more than 2,050 
toifes in length, and 1,025 in breadth. 

The fwell was not yet fufficiently abated to 
allow us to land with facility. It was neceflary 
for us to fcize the moment of the higheft furge 
for allowing our wherry, kept faft by a fmall 
painter, to come clofe to the beach, and each 
time one of us leapt on fliore. As the edge of 
the wherry, on which it was neceffury to place 
the foot, in order to jump out, prefented an in- 
clined plane, and the beach w^as fteep, we ran the 
rifk of tumbling into the water, and being carried 
off by the furges, which followed each other very 


Dec] of la perouse. 44g 

quickly, and from which even a good fwimmer 
would have found it difficult to efcapc. That 
was not the' only d-anger we had to apprehend ; 
for we might have fallen a prey to a large lliark, 
which kept at a fmall diftance a-f!:ern. We had 
obfcrved him hovering about the Hiip ever fince 
day-break, and he followed our boat as if he 
longed for one of us. The chaplain of the Re- 
cherche fell into the water, and would have been 
devoured by that anima], if the cockfvvain of the 
boat had not refcued him frorn the danger. 

Some fa ilors belonging to the Efperance, when 
ftrolling upon the rocks, killed a number of feals 
of different colours ; white, grey more or lefs 
deep, and brown, bordering upon black. They 
were, however, all of the fame fpecies, which has 
been denominated by ^w^on petit pJwque. Their 
flefli was found very good eating. 

The little ifland on which wc were, was com- 
pofed of fine granite or quartz. There were alfo 
quantities of feldt-fpar and mica ; this laft in 
blackilh plates. We alfo obfcrved fome fewjpi- 
cula of black fchorl. The granite lay bare in 
many places. The vegetable mould, collected in 
the Icaft precipitous fituations, was covered with 
fhrubs, fome times fo clofe together, as not to be 
cafily penetrated. I plucked a magnificent fpecies 

Vol. L F f " of 

450 VOYA.GE IN SEARCH [l792, 

of leptojpermumy remarkable for its filvcry leaves, 
and bright red flowers. 

I found there feveral new ipecies, belonging 
to the tribe of ihymelea (mezereons), which have 
but two Jlamina, and of which Forfter has com- 
pofed a new genus, under the denomination of 
Tjanljia. I alfo obferved new fpecies of the rumexj 
the lobelia and the huplevrum. 

The w^ftern part of that little ifland prefents, 
in one of its higheft parts, a plain furface of cal- 
careous ftone, the Jlrata of which follow the gentle 
declivity of the mountain. Strata of the fame 
ftone doubtlefs formerly covered the other parts 
of the ifland, and mafles of granite ferved as their 
bafes ; but probably they have tumbled down, 
and have left the fteep places expofed ; for in the 
north-eaft, w^here the mountains fall with a very 
* gentle declivity, there are ftill fome calcareous 
ftones, at a fmall difl:ance from the beach. I was 
not able to difcover any fliells, by all the fearch I 
could make. 

From the fummit of that little ifland, wx had 
a difliant view of a part of the reefs and rocks on 
which our fliips were in danger of being wrecked, 
before they arrived at this anchorage. Their 
number ftill appalled us, and we were aftoniflied 
at having effeded our efcape from fo many dan- 


Dec] of la perouse. 451 

TwQ fea-gulls, a male and a female, of the 
fpecies called by BufFon, hourgmeftre, and by Lin- 
nasus, larusfiifaiSy perched upon the heights at a 
fmall dlftance from us. The female having been 
Ihot, the male frightened by the noife of the ex- 
plofion, took to flight ; but prefently returned, 
and being determined not to abandon his mate, 
was killed by her fide ! 

I alfo fired at a feal, which lay at a diftancc 
from me. Feeling himfelf wounded, and diftruil- 
ing his ftrength, he durft not take to the water. 
Immediately another very large one, hearing the 
cries of that which I had wounded, came and 
licked the blood with apparent fatisfadlion ; but 
at the fight of a long-boat, which Vv'as Peering 
towards them, they plunged into the fea. 

Soon afterwards, I faw more of thofe animals 
advancing towards the beach. Before they ven- 
tured upon the land, they never failed to raife 
their bodies nearly half out of the water, and they 
remained fomc time in that attitude, fmelling 
and gazing all round, in order to difcover whether 
or not they could fafely come and repofe upon the 

14th. As on the preceding day, I had gathered 
an abundant harveft of objeds of natural hiftory, 
of different genera, it became neceiiary for mc to 

F f 2 pafs 


pafs a part of this day on board, in order to 
defcribe and prepare them. 

About five o'clock P. M. the tents belonging 
to the obfervatory were fent on fnore to be pitched. 
I wifhed to. embrace this opportunity to make 
another vifit to the little ifland. As the tide was 
only beginning to rife, a landing could ftill be 
effected ; but in a little time it vv^ould been im- 
poffible to get back to the boat, and we fhould 
have been obliged to pafs the night on Ihore. 
This confideration prevented feveral of my com- 
panions from landing. The interval to be got 
over before reaching the fliore, was about twenty 
feet, and at every furge, the water rofe there 
above fix feet perpendicularly. There was a ne- 
ceffity for feizing the moment between the tvro 
furges, or of running the rifk of being fwept into 
the fea, an accident which actually happened to 
the furgeon's mate of the Recherche. He had 
told us before hand, that he would get on fliore 
with dry feet ; but not being fufficicntly quick 
in his motion, he was hurried along the Ihore by 
a violent furge. Fortunately he could fwim, and 
returned towards the boat ; but in a very different 
plight Irom what he had fuppofed, when he 
boafted of his agility. 

Thofc who had landed w^ere obliged to pafs 


Dec] of la perouse. ' 453 

the night on fhore, without any other provifions 
than a few bifcuits. Urged by thirft, they fcram- 
bled in a very dark night,, above 1 ,000 toifes, over 
rocks, in order to procure, wiiter, and, to add to 
theif misfortune, they found it brackifli. 

Enormous fliarks, of the moft common fpecies, 
Xhcfqualus car-chanas, frequently appeared in the 
bafni where we lay at anchor. On board the Ef- 
perancc, they caught one which was about thir- 
teen feet in length, and of more jthan proportion- 
able bulk. 

As every circumftance convinced, us of the 
impoffibility of renewing our flock of water, the 
officer iecond in command ordered, that each 
perfon fliould be allowed only three quarters of a 
bottle daily. At the fame time he, as well as the 
Commander in Chief, ufed it without rcfhri(flion. 
I thought, however, that water was one of thofc 
articles, the enjoyment or privation of which 
ought to have been extended to all, without dif- 

]5th. The 2:eo2;raphical en8;incer of the Re- 
cherche, fet out at day-break, in the barge, to 
furvey the little group of iflands, to examine whe- 
ther there was any pallage to the callward, be- 
tween the rocks, and to look out for a proper 
w^atering place. I ardently wilhed to have joined 
fhis expedition ; but as geographical operations 

F f 3 have 

454 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l792. 

have but little connexion w^ith refearches in na- 
tural hiftory, v^e were not apprized of the hour of 
departure, for which every thing was arranged fo 
clandeflinely, that I knew nothing of it, till the 
barge was pufning off from the frigate. 

The impoffibihty of getting a boat to convey 
me to the main land, made me refolve to pals 
this day, on the ifland in the fouth-weft, the fea- 
iine of which T traced, fetting out in a'north- 
wefterly direction. I foon arrived in the fouth- 
weft part of the ifland, near the moft elevated 
land, where I found a little rill of freih water, 
iffuing from a fiffure in a granite rock. This dif- 
covery diffufed great joy among us ; for we had 
been for fome time reduced to very fhort allow- 
ance of that article. 

Very near that rill, I faw fome cavities full of 
limpid water, which I had reafon to believe as 
frelh as that which iifucd from the rock ; for it 
was more than 200 toifes above the level of the 
fea. But I was millaken : it was very fait, and 
farther on, other excavations filled with the fame 
water, were t)ordered with cryftals of fea fait in 
Jamhia fo thin, that at a certain diftance, they 
refembled glafs. This fad: having been mentioned 
on board by thofe who accompanied me, fome 
perfons, in order to account for the phenomenon 
affirmed, that the waves mull beat up to that 


Dec] of la perouse. 455 

height in bad weather, notvvithftanding the coaft 
was guarded by very large rocks ; although in* 
deed they were but at a fmall diftance from the 
bafes of the mountains. 

As the rill, which was very w^eak, furniflied 
flowly the w^ater necclTary to quench our thirfi, 
we wxre obliged to remain befide it, vshcn prc- 
fently fome little drops of the fait water with 
which we were wetted, convinced me that the air 
raifed to the place where we ftood, the iea water, 
attenuated by impinging againft the rocks. It 
was not long till our clothes were covered with 
it, as if we had been expofed to a flight fog ; and 
this water had loft none of its faltnefs. 

Some birds came to our retreat to quench their 
thirft. There I killed the charming yellow turtle 
dove, remarkable for fix or eight golden feathers 
towards the bafcs o{ its wings, and which induced 
White to call it The golden winged pigeon (fee 
page 43, where he has given a good figure of it). 
I had before found the fame fpecies at Cape Die- 

There wc alfo caught many- penguins, of the 
fpecies called apfenodyta minor ^ and which Captain 
Cook likewifc met with at New Zealand. They 
were in the fame manner concealed in very deep 
holes in the rocks, from whence it was frequently 
ycry difficult to expel them. 

Ff4 The 


The fummit of one of the highefi: mountains, 
which I vifited this day, for the firft time, was 
formed of calcareous ftone difpofed in ftrata al- 
moll: horizontal, fimilar to thofe which I had be- 
fore with on thofe heights. It was of a very 
iine grain, with fome few fmail cavities. I did 
not there obferve any fhells. It may be prefum- 
ed, that that conformation was the etfed: of a 
flow depofition of calcareous matter in a ftate of 

The change of the foil prefented me with fome 
plants, which I had not yet found, 

I gathered a new fpecies of very tall ffaUlanteJ 
eucalypt2(Sy of which the following is a defcrip- 
tion : 

The moft elevated twigs of that flirub, are not 
above thirteen feet in height. They are fmooth, 
are furnifhed, chiefly towards the extremity, with- 
leaves, alternate, oval, elongated, flightly bent, 
and about four inche.^ in length. 

The flowers are feffile, and generally eight or 
ten in number, at the extremity of a common 
peduncle, about an inch and one-fiith in length, 
having all the chara<5lers of the genus eucalyptus. 
Their flamina, which are very numerous, have 
long liiaments of a yellow colour. The ftyle pro- 
jects a little over the flamina. 

The calix is very much elongated, and is 
^ pulhed 

Cuc<z/u/i hut C c-'rn a ta 


Dec] of la perouse. 45/ 

puflied outwards by the ftamina, in proportion 
as they are developed, and it falls when they have 
acquired their full growth. 

The capfule is open at top, and furnifhed with 
three cells and fometimes four. It is furmounted 
by a fmall portion of the bafe of the ilyle, which 
is divided into as many parts as there are cells. 

Every cell contains a great number of angular 

The form of the calix has induced me to give 
it the name of the eucalyptus cormita. 

Explanation of the Figures. Plate XVI!. 

Fig. 1 . A branch of the eticalyptus cornuta. 

Fig. 2. A flower difengaged from its calix, in 
order to expofe to view the framina and the llyle. 

Fig. 3. A flower, whofe detached calix llill en- 
velopes the ftamina. 

F/g. 4. The calix. 

Fig. 5. The ovarium. 

Fig. 0. The capfule. 

After having refolved to pafs the night on fhore, 
we fought for a commodious retreat, and found 
at lafl an excavation in a rock, where we were 
for fome time perfedly Iheltercd from the wind 
and the rain which overtook us at the clofe of 
the day. The cold w^as fufliciently keen to induce 
us to kindle a fire, and as wc had not much pro- 



vifions, after I had chofcn from among the birds 
I had Ihot, thofe which I wifhed to preferve for 
my collection, I gave the reft to my companions 
to be broiled. We were expe<5ling to make a 
hearty fupper, and to flecp foundly, when all on 
a fudden, the wind chopped about and blew di- 
TcSly into our grotto, which we were immedi- 
ately obliged to abandon, to avoid being ftifled by 
the fmoke of our fire. This change of weather 
made us regret that we had not returned on board ; 
for the wind was fo ftrong as to extinguilh our 
fire, before our penguins were fufficiently broiled, 
but yet we found them very good. 

At this repaft^ the ample fupply of water, 
which we had brought from the»top of the moun- 
tain, agreeably reminded us, that here at leaft, 
wc could drink without reftraint. 

idth. At day- break I advanced towards the 
fouth-weft. Among many Other vegetable pro- 
dudions, I difcovered at^the bafe of the moun- 
tains, in a marly foil, a leguminous plant, which 
oueht to be ranked amone; thofe the corolla of 
which is papilionaceous, and the filaments of their 
fiiamina fcparate from each other. 

It forms a new genus, which I call cliorizema. 

The calix is in one piece, and di\ided into 
four parts on its borders. The upper divifion is 
large, hollowed, and longer than the rcll. The 


( A erf zema <■- ^ (fcf/i^/ea . 



three lower ones are equal among themfelves, 
ilrait and terminated by a point. 

The iupcrior border of the vexillum is hollow- 
ed, and almoft entirely covers the alas of the 

The ftamina, which are fix in number, are all 
feparatcd from one another. 

The ovarium is oval, elongated, and terminated 
by a recurvated Hyle. 

The pod is oval, and filled with a great number 
of black and almoft fpherical feeds. 

This plant is perennial, and its leaves are iimple, 
alternate, feffile, coriaceous, long, dentated, and 
have two little fpines for ftipulce. 

The form of the leaves has induced me to de- 
lineate this fpecies, under the name of cJiorlzema 


Explanation of the Figures. Plate XXI , 

Fig. 1 . The plant. 

Tig. 2. The flower. 

FJg. 3. The expanfion of the petals. 

Fig. 4. The ftamina ; the corolla and the calix 
having been removed. 

Fig. 5. The ovarium. 

Fig. 6. The pod. • 

Very early in the morning the Eiperance had 
fent a boat to the main land, with a view to fome 


460 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l 79-. 

aftronomical obfervatlons. Citizen Riche had 
alfo landed there. The rendezvous was fixed for 
two o'clock in the afternoon, at the landing place i 
but the boat's crew waited in vain till fcYcn in 
the evening, when they v/ere obliged to return to 
the fliip, from their want of provifions, and the 
dangerous fituation of the boat, if the furge had 
rifen ever fo little. They left upon the beach a 
written note, acquainting Citizen Riche, in cafe 
he fliould return thither, that they would return 
and take him off very early the next morning, 
if the weather would permit. 

The geographical engineer, who had been fent 
to furvey the little iflands, returned in the evening, 
having deterrnined the pofition of more than 
twenty of them, fcattered in the fpace of a de- 
gree in longitude, and as much in latitude. He 
landed in fevejr^l places, without finding a com- 
modious watering place, and the only rill of frefh 
water which he difcovered could fcarcelv furnifli 
a fufficiency for the daily confumption of the 
fliips. But he had found an anchoring place, be- 
hind the point of the mainland, which bore from 
us, E. N. E. but it was not fo deep as that which 
we occupied. 

The difcoveries of Nuyts terminated at this 
archipelago. We were aftoniflied at the prccifion 
with which the -latitudes had' been determined 


Dec] of la perouse. - 4O1 

by that navigator, > at a time when nautical and 
aftronomical inflruments were fo imperfed:. I 
oua:ht to extend the fame obfervation, to almoft 
all thofe afcertained by Lewen on this coaft. 

For fome days the winds had blown from the 
eaft, inclining to the north in the morning, and 
to the fouth in the afternoon. The fands, fl'rongly 
heated by the folar rays, caufed this diurnal varia- 
tion. The equilibrium of the atmofphere was not 
affefted by thofe winds, and hence the mercury 
in the barometer commonly ftood at 28 inches, 3 
or 4 lines. 

17th. This day the weather being favourable, 
a boat was fent in queft of Citizen Rlche. That 
naturalift, enraptured with the riches and no- 
velty of all the produ(5lions of that region, which 
,no obferver had hitherto vifited, had doubtlefs 
been fo abforbed in admiration of them, that he 
had quickly loft his way ; and he had not yet re- 
turned to the appointed rendezvous. 

When advancing in the diredion which he 
w^as feen to take on the preceding day, our people 
faw, at a fmall diftance, fome favages, with whom, 
however, any communication was impoiTiblc ; for 
they always fled when our people oucred to ap- 
proach them. 

The fituation of Riche was fo much the more 
alarming, as he had been abfent nearly a day and 

a half, 


a half, and as we knew that he had landed upon 
that flerile foil without provifions. 

The boat, which returned about two o'clock in 
the afternoon, brought the difmal intelligence 
that he was not to be found. Captain Huon im- 
mediately waited on the Commodore, in order to 
concert with him the meafures, which it would 
be adyifeable to take, on this difagreeable occa- 
fion. The Commodore having fent for the natu- 
ralifl: Defchamps and me, Captain Huon told us 
the methods he had taken to recover our vmfor- 
tunate colleague ; ftating to us the dangers to 
which he muft necelTarily be expofed, in advanc- 
ing alone into the interior country, where, per- 
haps, he had fallen by the attacks of the favages ; 
in iliort, he laid, he could not but apprehend the 
moil fatal event, believing it to be impoffible that 
he could willingly have abfented himfelf fo long. 

The nature of thofe burning fands, which arc 
totally deftitute of water, rendered all the conjec- 
tures, which we could form concerning him, ftill 
more melancholy. 

As our ilock of water was partly confumed, 
and we had found no means of renewing it, at 
that anchoring-place. Captain Huon, atter re- 
prefenting to us the difad vantages of prolonging 
our ftay, added, that it was evident any farther 
fearch could only injure the expedition, without 

ex pr effing 

Dec] of la perouse. 463 

expreffing the Icall hope of finding our unhappy 

Defchamps, upon whom thofe arguments had 
the defired effed:, efpoufed the opinion of the 
Captain, and feconded his propofition for failing, 
by declaring that it could not be diilembled, that 
we could now do nothing more than lament the 
lofs of our friend. 

Thofe probabilities had not the fame weight 
with me. But it was neceflary for me to perfuade 
the failors ; and I employed what I thought the 
moft proper argument for that purpofe, by citing, 
in fupport of my opinion, an inftance taken from 
the voyages of the mod celebrated of navigators. 
I reminded them that, in December 1777> two 
failors flrayed from Captain Cook, into the ifland 
of Noel, one of whom was abfent a whole day, 
and the other eight and forty hours ; that Cook 
had ordered feveral detachments to fcarch for 
them with the greateft care ; that Noel, however, 
was but a little low ifland, fcarcely covered with 
flirubs, whereas New Holland, where Rlche had 
loft himfelf, w^as an immenfe region. I rcqueft- 
ed, therefore, that the fam.e time Ihould be al- 
lowed to fearch for our unhappy friend, as Captain 
Cook had emi ployed in fceking one of his failors. 

This reafoning produced all the effe^fl v/hich I 
could dcfire. 

A boat 

464 VOYAGfi IN SEARCH [l792. 

A boat was immediately difpatched, from each 
iliip, for the main land ; and I had the pleafure to 
be of the party, whofe bufmefs it was to ufe every 
method, and to make every effort, to recover our 
unfortunate mefs-mate. 

The Commodore ordered guns to be fired every 
half hoar, to enable Hiche^ if flill alive, to dircd: 
his fl:eps with the more certainty towards the an- 
choring place. 

The wind favoured us, and, in a fliort time, we 
made good our landing. 

After having advanced into the country, in 
different diredlions, we returned to the landing 
place, on the approach of night. 

We traverfed a track wholly covered with fand, 
where we found extenfive fpaces abfolutely defli - 
tute of vegetables. But I favv with furprize, en 
thofe diflant fliores, the grafs known by the name 
qI fpmifc%fquarrofus ; and thus had a new and an 
admirable inftancc of the facility with which 
plants, which grow on the feafhore, diffufe them- 
fehes to prodigious diflances. 

In thofe arid wafles, grows a fine plant which 
nearly refembles the im, and which naturally 
claffes itfelf with the genera dilatrh and argoJaJia, 
It forms, however, a nev/ and a very diflindl ge- 
nus, principally by its irregular corolla. , • 

I have 

,.7Vn caez^r /^ t/u\) : A a/c f 

Dec".] -^OF la PEROItSE.' 405 

i have delineated it under the name of anigo^ 

Its flowers have no calix. 

The corolla has the form of a tube, the edges 
of which are divided into fix unequal parts recur- 
vated inwards. It is covered with reddiih pili. I 

The ftamina, which are fix in number, are in- 
ferted under the divifions of the corolla, which is 
placed upon the ovarium. 

The llyle is fimple, as well as the ftigma. 

The capfule is nearly fpherical, and of the 
fame colour with the flower by w^hich it is fur- 
mounted. It has three cells filled with a great 
number of angular feeds. 

The top of the ftalk is covered with reddifli 
pili, like the flowers. 

I have denominated this fpecies antgozantlios 

Explanation of the Figures, Plate XXIL 

Fig. 1. The plant. 
Fig. 2. The flower. 

Fig. 3. The flower divided longitudinally, and 
expanded, in order to expofe the ftamina to view. 
Fig. 4. The ftamina. 
Fig. 5. The capfule. 

Although in the day, the heat was yerypower- 
VoL. I. Gg ful 


ful upon the -land, we experienced a very keen 
cold in the night. 

As foon as day began to dawn, we divided our- 
ielves into .two parties. That w^hich I ^.ccom- 
panied advanced towards the north, andtheoth^er 
towards the north- weft. 

., Directing our fteps by the compafs, we had 
proceeded at leaft 5,1 00 toifes acrofs plains of cal- 
careous fand, heaped up in different places, when 
we arrived in a very narrow bottom, where the 
verdure of th^; plants formed a very pleafmg con- 
Jt-raft with the, difmal places we had traverfed, 
and they grew in a very rich foil. There we faw 
fome cavities which afforded us a little frefh wa- 
ter, but they wxre too diitant to be of any ufe to 
the fhips. 

Continuing our route, I obferved in the midft 
of thofe fands, fome rocks of a calcareous nature, 
w^here I collected fome fine plants, which ftill 
refifted the aridity of the foil. Among the great 
number of the tribe of the protea, wliich I ob- 
ferved there, I lliall mention tw^o fpecies of hmikfia^ 
w^hich 1 call bank/la repens, and hanlfia nivea. 

The iirft has a creeping ftalk, thickly covered 
with reddifh down, terminated by flowers joined 
together in a conical form. 

The leaves are pinnatifid, and when very young, 




Jiti-f fiyJ^Sfpc/i-i^n/e, F,-emdilly, /oiij/iril /Oiv. 

Dec] of la perouse. 467 

are coated with the fame down as the ftalk ; ib 
that one would take that plant for feme fpecies 
of acroftichum ; but when more advanced in age, 
they- are very fmooth. 

Explanation of the Figures, Plate XXIII. 

Fig. 1. The plant. 

Fig. 2. The flower. . -r ; 

Fig. 3. The corolla divided tranferfely, and 
viewed through a magnifying glais. • - • 

Fig. 4. The ftamina magnified. 

Fig. 5. The ovarium, with the ftyfe and the 

The fpecies of han\Jia, which I call 7iivea, is 
remarkable for its long leaves, dentated very 
deeply, and white on the under fide. 

Explanation of the Figures, Plate XXIV. 

Fig. 1 . The plant. 

Fig. 2. The flower. 

Fig. 3. The corolla expanded. 

Fig. 4. A part of one of the divifions of the 
corolla, viewed through a magnifying glafs. 

Fig. 5. The ftamen, viewed through a magni- 
fying glafs. 

Fig. 0. The ovarium furmounted by its ftyle. 

I alfo found there the eucalyptus cormita, and 
many other plants of the myrtle tribe. 

G cr 2 At 

46s VOYAGE IN SEARCk [irpS- 

At the end of four hours, very quick walking, 
we arrived on the banks of a great lake which has 
a communication with the fea. 

The natives had recently made fires in many 
places which we paiTed. 

We faw no kangarous ; but their excrements^ 
which we faw every where in great abundance,, 
convinced us that that quadruped has multiplied 
greatly on that coaft. We alfo obferved excre- 
ments which very much refembled thofe of the 
cow ; but we did not fee the animal to which 
they belonged. We faw^ in the fand the prints 
of a cloven hoof, more than three inches in 
breadth. There is no doubt that that region is 
inhabited by animals much larger than the kan- 
garous. It affords but little food for birds ; and 
accordingly I found none in this excurfion except 
two fpecies, a mujcknpa, which I afterwards met 
with in the Moluccas, and the fine fpecies of red 
crefled cockatoes, pjittacus moJuccerifis, which are 
met with in the fame ifiands, in flocks of many 
hundreds. When I attempted to approach them, 
they always removed to a great diftancc, flying 
rapidly, with fudden ftarts, and emitting loud and 
very diiagrec :'j]e flirieks. 

The banks of the lake, which we followed for 
fom.^ time in approaching the fea, are fomewhat 
marfhy. The lake extends a great way into the 


Dec] of la perouse. 4oq 

land ; for the other party, who proceeded towards 
the north-weft, alfo arrived on its banks. Some 
of them came to our rendezvous to acquaint us, 
that they had obferved on the very edge of the 
kke, towards the part fartheft from the fea, the 
prints of fhoes, which left no doubt that Richc 
had paffed that way ; but that the marks of naked 
feet which appeared near his, gave grounds for 
apprehending that he had been dragged by the 
favages into the interior country. What tended 
to give ftill more probability to this conjecture 
was, that they foon found his handkerchief upon 
the fand, and a little farther on, one of his piftols. 
At a fmall diftance, they law a little fmoke from 
a deferted fire, around which they found fome 
bits of paper, on which they recognized the hand- 
writing of Riche ; and befides, the fand ftill bore 
the marks of one who had been v^fting himfelf 
on the fpot. 

We returned towards the landing place, la- 
menting the fate of our unfortunate mefs-mate, 
and had very nearly reached the fliore, in a hope- 
iefsftate of mind, when we faw one of thofc who 
had been left to take care of the boat, running to 
meet us with the pleafing intelligence, that Riche 
was ftill alive, and that he had juft arrived at 
the landing-place, extenuated with hunger and 
fatififue. He had been above fiftv-four hours on 

G 2: 3 ihorc. 


liiore, with no other pro vifion than fome bits of 
bifcuit. The famifhed {late to which he was 
reduced, rendered it imprudent for his friends to 
allow him to indulge his appetite, and in giving 
him food we tried gradually to bring into a6lion 
the digeUive powers of his ftomach. His appear- 
ance, at iiril entirely difcompofed, became by de- 
grees re-animated. When he had recovered from 
the ftate of ftupor into which he had been thrown , 
by fo long a privation of nourilhment, he told us 
that, near the fire which we had found ftiil burn- 
ing, there was a little rill of frefn water, at which 
he had quenched his thirft ; and that, by dint of 
fcarching among the plants, analogous to thofe 
which yield efculent fruits, he had difcovered a 
fh ub of the tribe of plaqueminiers which furnifh- 
ei him with fome fmall fruits ; but in a quan- 
tity Infufficicnt for the fupply of his necefnties. 
On the hxd day of his abfjnce, he found the fpring, 
near w^hich his things had been picked up. There 
he paired the night, and the next day he fpent 
wholly in feeking the anchoring-place,- without 
b:ing able to find it. In all this painful peregri- 
nation, he had not met wilh a drop of water ; 
but chance happily conduced him in the evening 
to the fame fpring, where he palled the fecond 
night. Having feen favages at a diiiance, he 
had attempted to obtain fome intercourfe with 


Dec] of la perouse. 471 

them, in order to know their manner of fubfift- 
ence, and to ailcthem for fome food ; for he was 
violently tormented with hunger ; but they al- 
ways fled, when he was advancing towards them. 
They frequently fet fire to the dried grafs which 
was difFufcd over the fand. In thai; climate, 
men not being under the ncccffity of wearing 
cloaths, they were ail abfolutcly naked. 

Some cazoards and kangarous of the large fpe- 
cies, were the only animals feen by Riche. Al- 
though in a ftate of weaknefs, he had carried for 
two days a numerous colled'tion o£ very inte- 
refting produ(5lions ; but, during the third day, 
his ftrength funk fo rapidly, that it was with 
great difficulty he could trail himfelf along the 
fhore, in queft of the ih'ip^, and in thofe circum- 
ftances, he was obliged to abandon his whole 
coileclion, not being able to rcfcrve even the moil 
precious articles. 

As foon as he had a little recovered his ftrength, 
we conveyed him towards the Ihips. It was to 
little purpofe that we made the fignals agreed 
upon to announce our fuccefs. Every one was 
fo convinced before hand of the inutility of our 
refearches, that they did not underftand the 
meaning of them, till we had come clofe to the 
fliips, and Riche was feen in the midft of us. The 
horrible fituation in which he would have been, 

Ggl if 

4/2 VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l7y2. 

if the opinion entertained by fome perfons con- 
cerning him had prevailed, ought to be arv alarm- 
ing and dreadful leflon to captains and natu- 
ralifts who undertake long voyages ; for, if we had 
quitted that anchoring place the day before, his 
exiftcnce would have been terminated by a irxoll: 
frightful death, in all the anguifh of the moll ter- 
rible defpair. 

Though it was demonftrated by this fa6l, that 
it was poffible for a man to lofe himfelf for more 
than two days in that country, the greater part 
of our failors chofe to be of a different opinion ; 
fome of them being more willing to believe and 
to fay, that Riche had dcfignedly abfented him- 
felf ; as if it could be believed, that he w ould 
wantonly expofe himfelf to all the horrors of fa- 

During our ilay at that anchoring place, wc 
could not fifh with the feine. But on board the 
fliips, fome fifties were caught with the hook, 
among which w^ere the labrus cyprhwides, and 
feveral new fpecies of the gcnws perca. 

We lay at anchor, ni latitude 2>?>'^ 55^ fouth, 
and longitude 11 9" 82^ eail. 

The variation of the compafs was found to be 
0° weft. 

19th. All the boats having been got on board 
'over night, we w^aited for the morning to weigh 


X)ec.] of la perouse. 473 

anchor, if the wind Ihould ferve. It fliifted 
from the N. E. to the E. S. E. and at fix o'clock 
A. M. we were under fail. 

Faffing to the northward of the little ifland 
which had flickered us, we advanced into the 
open fea. 

At noon, being in latitude 34'' 12' 54" fouth, 
and in longitude 1 19° 21' eaft, the mofi: foutherly 
of the rocks bore E. 2° S. diftant about 3,400 
toiies, and the moft northerly land bore N. 3° E, 

For fome days, eaft winds prevailed, which 
niade us apprehend great difficulties, in explor- 
ing that coail ; and analogy gave much probabi- 
lity to that fuppofition ; for at the Cape of Good 
Hope, which even extends fome degrees farther 
to the fouthward than that part of New Holland, 
eaft winds alfo predominate at the fame feafon of 
the year. 

24th. About noon this day, we had only reach- 
ed 34^ 24' fouth latitude, and 120° 22^ eaft lon- 
gitude ; and the little iiflands at which we had 
anchored were ftill in fight. 

The eaft wind blew very freffi in the after- 
noon, but in the evening, we had a hot fuffocating 
breeze from the land. Immediately w^e were en- 
veloped in a very thick fog, the air being loaded 
with a humidity which pervaded every thins;. I 
can compare it to nothing fo properly, as to thofe 


474 VOYAGE IN SEA.K,CH [l792. 

fogs whidh Southerly winds diffufe .over the Me^ 
diterranean, near the. African coaft, in a very hot 
feafon. The fands, heated by the folar rays, had 
communicated to the atmofpherd an additional 
power of retaining water, and we fpund ourfelves 
immerfed, as it were, in a vapour bath of a mo- 
derate temperature. 

About eleven at night, we loft fight of the 
Efperance, which did not anfwer the fignals we 
made,, till three hours afterwards, when we heard 
a very diftant report of a gun. 

25th. The breeze was weak : we plied clofe 
to windward ; and when day-light appeared, we 
faw the Efperance at a fmall diftance. The wind 
foon began to blow forcibly from the fouth-weft; 
and for fome time, we went at a great rate to- 
wards the eaft. 

At noon, we were in 34° 14^ fouth latitude, 
and 121° eaft longitude; and two hours after- 
w^ards, we perceived behind fome little iflands, a 
large bight, which appeared to offer us excellent 

The natives announced their prefence by the 
fmoke of fires, a great way from the ihore, and 
from each other. 

The barometer having defcended ftill lower 
than when it foretold the tempeft, which forced 
us to anchor in Legrand road, we Hood off fliore^ 


Dec] of la perouse. 4/5 

to avoid being embayed on that dangerous coaft. 
We afterwards lay to, for the whole night, keep^ 
ing the fhip's head towards the fouth and S. S. E. 

There was a very heavy fea : the wind blew 
impetuoufly from the S. W. and the W. S. W, 
and increafing gradually, it raged with thegreateft 
violence for almoft the whole night,, raifmg th^ 
waves to a prodigious height. We had n<?ver yet 
been fo violently toffed by a tempeft. ■ ,. 

The fouth- wefl winds there are almofl always 
impetuous, and add very much to the dangers to 
which fhips are expofed, in coafting from weft to 
eaft, along that low Ihore, frequently lined with 
flioals ; and there is danger of their not being 
perceived ioon enough to. be able to double them. 

When day-light appeared, we ftood in for the 
land. A wind from W. S. W. brought us back 
fine weather. 

Towcirds noon, w^e v/erc in latitude 33*^ 4!^^ 
fouth, and longitude 122° 4'' eaft, when we faw 
from the maft-head, beyond feveral little iiiands, 
a part of the coaft, extending from weft to north- 
weft, and which ftiil appeared low. Prefcntly it 
alTumed the appearance of a bank, raifed in a very 
uniform manner, trending towards the eaft, and 
intercepting our view ot the land. At the ap- 
proach of night, we clawed ^ft' fhorc,. and after- 
wards lay to. 

27 th. 

47^ VOrAGE IN SEARCH [l 792. 

27th. The next morning, we continued to fol- 
low the coaft, and about three o'clock P. M. our 
diftance from it was but 1,000 toifes. It uni- 
formly prfefented the fame appearance, for more 
than 15,400 toifes. We perfectly diftinguiflied 
thin horizontal ftrata, of the fame form with the 
calcareous rocks, which I found in Legrand road. 

I am inclined to believe, that this interruption 
of mountains, through fo great an extent, is the 
'work of the waters, which appear to have un- 
dermined the ftrata, making them rufli into the 
fea, where they form a rampart which renders 
that coaft inacceffible. We obferved little flopes, 
which they had formed in rufhing down, but 
which it would have been very difficult to climb. 
We had approached it fo nearly, that it became 
neceftary to get into the offing, where we found 
'twenty fathoms of water, with a bottom of cal- 
careous fand. 

28th. Very early in the morning, we faw the 
land trending towards the north-eaft, and with 
the wind at fouth-wxft, it was eafy for us to fol- 
low all Its windings. It always prefented the 
fame fteep rampart, which rofe very uniformly to 
the height of about forty-five toifes, and prefent- 
ed, from its top to the level of the fea, the parallel 
ftrata of which it Is compofed. 


Dec] , OF LA PEROUS&, 47^ 

. About noon, the coaft inclined a little towards 
the fouth-ealt, and changed its appearance, be- 
ing then interlperfed with little fandy hills, which, 
falling with a gentle declivity, w'ere bounded by a. 
very low beach. The fea then alTuming a grcenilh 
appearance, even in the diftant offing, indicated 
a change of bottom ; but a line of fourteen fa- 
thoms could not reach it. 

^^The wind foon began to blow very frefli. Ex- 
perience had taught us to dread the fouth-wefl 
winds, on that coaft, which had almoft always 
become impetuous ; and therefore we ftood S. 
E. I E. to get into the offing. 

The want of water began to be feverely felt on 
board of both the iliips, and it was evident that if 
we could not immediately find a fupply of that 
article, we muft in a fliort time abandon that 
coaft. But if wc had begun with its moft eafterly 
part, and coafted it from eaft to weft, we would 
have had the advantage of getting a full fiipply 
of water at Cape Diemen ; w^hereas, the half of 
our's was confumed, when we began to explore 
the coafl, at its moft wellerly point. This con- 
fideration, among many others, is a ftrong in- 
ducement to coall it from eaft to weft. Befides, 
the impetuofity of the wxft w^inds expofes ihips 
to the greateft dangers ; while the eaft winds, 


47^ roYAGE IN SEARCH [l793» 

which are the moft conftant, never blow with 

29th. We were but 1,020 toifes from the 
Goaft, when the lead indicated a bottom, fome- 
times of coarfe fand", fomevimes of rock, the depth 
varying from nine to twelve fathoms. 

At noon, our latitude was 32° 10^ fouth, and 
our longitude 124° 52'' eaft, the ncarcft land bear- 
ing N. N. W. diftant 340 toifes. • It fet by com- 
pafs from N. 69° W. to E. 20^ N. In a little 
time, it reaiTumed the form' of a rampart, like 
that which we had already coafted ; but with this 
difference, that its upper part rofe by a gentle 
elevation into the interior country. We obferved 
fome flirubs, which did not feem to be in fo fuf- 
fering a ftate, as thofc which we had feen hither- 
to on the fame coaft. 

The fea was covered v, ith the fpecies of fucusj 
called f7icus natmis, and by the French ra}fi7i de 

January ift, 1793. Having been oppofed by 
the eafterly winds, we had only reached, about 
noon this day, 32^ 8' fouth latitude, and 120^ 42/ 
eaft longitude, when we faw a fog rife, which 
every wherereprefented a flat fhore ; and {o flrik- 
ing was the illufion, that perfons who came 
from between decks, thought that we had enter- 

Jan.] op la .per o use. 47g 

ed into a vaft bafin. We were, however, at the 
diilance of 10,200 toifes from the coaft, which 
the fog concealed from our view. 

in the evening, the iky lowered on the land 
fide, and rii^ilies of lightning darted from the 
Xh-ickefl: clouds. . Then the fog, which, encircled 
bhe horizonV-diiiipated, and the wind Shifting to 
±he wefl," became very frefli. 

4th. In £h& evening. Captain Huon acquainted 
the Commodore with th&jdamage which the rud- 
der of the Efperan'cehad fultained. At the fame 
time, he told us, that on .board of his iliip, they 
had long been reduced to an allowance of three 
quarters of a bottle of water per day ; that they 
had been obHgcd to difcontinue the diftribution 
of antifcorbutic draughts ; and that thirty butts 
o£ water then compofed the whole ftock on board 
the Efperance. 

;5th. About fix o'clock^t'his morning, our Com- 
mander fent Captain Huon ^ letter, letting him 
know the refolution which he had come to, re- 
fpe(5ling the fituation of the two fnips. 

At noon, our latitude was 31° 52^ fouth, and 
our longitude 129° 10^ eaft, and we had fight of 
the land from E. to N. 10° W. being 5,1 00 toifes 
from the neareft part of it. 

As foon as the boat was hoifled in, we ftood 


480 VOYAGE IN SEARCH fl ^9^* 

clofe on our courfe on the larboarfl ta^k, with 
the wind at E. S. E. {leering for Cape Diemen, 
and abandoning an extremely arid coaft, along 
which we had held our courle, above 820^000 
toifes, in the general direction of W. i S. W, to 
E. I N. E. Fifteen months before us, Vancouver, 
equally oppofed by the eaft winds, had been forced 
to abandon his enterprize, after having explored 
only about 360,000 toifes of the coaft. 

Before we approached that coafl, we did not 
exped; to find boifterous winds fo frequent, ef- 
pecially at that feafon, which might have been 
fuppofed the fineft, in thofe latitudes, the fun 
having been then above two months in the 
fouthern hemifphere. Is this impetuofity of the 
winds caufed by the prodigious difference, which 
exiils between the cool temperature of the atmo- 
fphere over the fea, and the ardour of the folar 
rays concentrated by the burning fands on the 
main land ? 

The currents, experienced on that coaft, always 
conform to the dirediion of the winds. 

The Efperance was in ftill greater diflrefs than 
we. Befides, that frigate had fuftained feveral in- 
juries, when lail at anchor, and needed an excel- 
lent harbour, where fhe might receive all the ne- 
ceflary repairs. 


Jan.] of la perouse. 481 

At four o'clock no land could be feen, even 
from the maft-head ; and, at the fame time, a 
line of thirty fathoms reached a bottom of fine 
fand, mixed with broken fhells and lythophites. 
The lead was hove every two hours, and each 
time it was found that the depth increafed two 
or thr£e fathoms ; infenfibly augmenting with 
our diftance from the coaft. 

6th. At fix this evening, being then 102,000 
toifes from the land, a line of feventy-two fa- 
thoms indicated a bottom of very fine fand mixed 
with gravel ; and from that moment, no bottom 
was found, though we founded at different times* 
This gradual augmentation of the depth of the 
fea near that coaft, proves that the land fubfides 
under the water by an almoft infenfible declivity, 
and gives us reafon to believe, that it rifes in the 
interior by an acclivity equally gentle, fo that thofe 
heights are too diftant to be perceived from the 

8th. We were carried on the /th, 23^ to the 
weftward, and this day 21'' in the fame dlreflion. 
At noon, we were in 35" 30^ fouth latitude. The 
rapidity of thofe currents towards the weft, per- 
haps depends on fome channel, which feparates 
the lands of New Holland and thofe of Cape 
Diemen, between Point Hick and Furneaux's 

Vol. I. Hh lilands. 


Iflands. Captain Cook, in exploring the caftern 
part of New Holland, faw no land in that fpace, 
the extent of which is about 102,5oo tolles, and 
believed it to be the entrance of a great gulph. 
Perhaps on that part of the coaft, a channel 
commences, which, after forming different fmuo- 
fities, opens weftward in the fame latitude, in 
which we experienced fuch ftrohg currents. 

We had no wefterly winds, till we reached the 
fortieth degree of fouth latitude ; and thej car- 
ried us to Cape Diemen, varying from the fouth- 
wcft to the north-weft. 

About ten o'clock, we faw at a fmall diftance, 
a great number of cetaceous hfhes, of a new fpe- 
cies, which appeared to me to be of the genus 
delphhius. They were eafily diftinguifhed by a 
large white fpot, behind the dorfal fin. The up- 
per part of the body is of a blackifh brown, and 
the belly white. The largeft were above nine 
feet in length. They were preceded by a great 
number of dolphins fdelphirins delphh), and they 
fwaminlhoals like them, making, with great ra- 
pidity, nearly the fame movements with thofe 
cetaceous fiilics. 

We lay to during the night, defigning In the 
morning to make the land, a degree lower in 
latitude than Cape Diemen. We hoped to dif- 


Jan.] of la perouse. 483 

cover there a harbour which would afford great 
advantages to future navigators, who might in- 
tend to reconnoitre the fouth-wefl coaft of New 
Holland, by availing themfelves of the fouth-wefl 

igth. By half paft four in the morning, w^e 
faw the land, extending from N. E. | N. to E. i 
S. E. the nearell: part bearing E. N. E., diftant 
15,400 toifes. 

For fome time we ftood on the l?:arboard tack, 
clofe upon the wind, which blew from fouth- 
weft. Two hours afterwards, when we were 
not more than 7^800 toifes from the fhore, a line 
of feventy-five fathoms indicated a bottom of 
very coarfe fand, and broken fliells. 

The fhore we faw was lleep, and at a little 
diflance, was a chain of mountains, of moderate 
elevation, which nearly followed the fame direc- 
tion. The land was almofh wholly covered with 
large trees. 

At noon, wc were in 42° 51^ S. lat., and 142° 
49^ E. long. The land to the north-eaft, could 
only be feen through a thick fog, which obfcured 
the whole horizon. 

20th. The variation of the compafs had very 
rapidly increafed fmce it became eaflerly ; for it 
was no\y obferved to be 7° call. 

H h 2 The 

484 - VOYAGE IN SEARCH [l793(| 

The coaft prefented no bights in which we 
could hope to find good anchorage. At noon, we 
had arrived in latitude 43° 22^ S., and longitude 
143'' 28^ E., being but 5,100 toifes diftant from 
the land, which, from N. 7° W. to E. 23° S. al- 
ways prefented very high mountains to our view. 

At fix o'clock in the evening, we doubled the 
fouthern cape, at the diflance of 10,200 toifes. 
It is remarkable, that in the different windings of 
the coaft, which we followed, we had always the 
Vv'ind a-ftern. It appeared to me, that the high 
mountains, opposing a barrier to the wind,^ forced 
them to obferve the dired;ion of the coaft. 

All the other mountains were furpaffed in alti- 
tude, by that which we faw covered with fnow, 
when we anchored in Port Dentrecafteaux, the 
preceding year. But as this was a much warmer 
feafbn, we obfervtd fnow only in great excava- 
tions, where it was fcreened from the folar rays, 
for a confiderable part of the day. That moun- 
tain is remarkable for a little conical peak, which 
forms its fummit. 

At the approach of night, we paffed very near 
the Mew-ijj|>ne, and foon after we brought to, 
before a very frefh breeze at weft. 

We founded feveral times v»ith a line of eighty- 
three fathoms, without reaching the bottom. 


Jan.] of la perouse. 485 

As we were embayed upon the coaft, by a 
wind at S. S. W. we were obliged to tack. 

21 ft. At noon, we were in latitude 43° 44' S. 
and longitude 144° lO W., when the Mew-ftone 
bore W. 1 0" 30'' S., the Eddy-ftone S. S.E. 1°E. 
and the neareft land about N. N. W. at the dii- 
tance of 1,540 toifes. 

22d. Very early this morning, we were at the 
entrance of the Bay of Tempefts. The wind 
blowing from the E. S. E. hindered us from en- 
tering Dentrecafteaux's Strait, where we intended 
to anchor in a bay which we had explored the 
preceding year, and which was extremely com- 
modious for giving our fhips all the neceflary re- 
pairs. But we were obliged to enter the Bay of 
Rocks, a name, which fome rocks almoft lev;el 
with the water, fituated near its middle, had in- 
duced us to give that bay, which is the iirft on 
the larboard, on entering the Bay of Tempefts, 
and lies in the dired:ion of north-eaft and fouth- 
weft. The Efperance anchored there in very 
good time. 

Having proceeded up this bay, about one-third 
part of its length, we found but fixteen feet of 
water ; and confequently it would not have been 
prudent for us to go farther, without founding 
all the way, which was the eafier to be done, as 



we had feveral boats afloat. Cretin, who had 
taken foundings in this road the preceding year, 
told our Commander that he would not find lefs 
water in it than fixteen feet ; and this prevented 
all farther fear ch. That affertion, however, ought 
not to have been entirely adopted ; for, befides 
that Cretin had not founded the bay fo delibe- 
rately as to be able to inform us refped:ing its depth 
within a foot or two, he was in doubt whether 
or not he had performed that operation at low^ 
water, ^a circumflance which would produce a 
difference of at leaft fix feet, and confequently 
would not have left fufficient water for our Ihip. 
Notwithftanding thefe confi derations, we did not 
hefitate to fteer to the larboard, and to approach 
ftill nearer to the low Ihore. The confequence 
was, that we ran a-ground, but fortunately upon a 
fandy bottom. This accident happened at half 
an hour pafi; nine o'clock. The wind blowing in 
heavy Iqualls, from the high mountains, drove 
the fhip violently towards the fliore, and fixed 
her deeper and deeper into the fand. 

The Efperance immediately fent her long-boat 
and her pinnace, which, in conjundlion with our 
own boats, made vain efforts, on the ftarboard 
fide of our ftiip, to tow her off. It then became 
neceilary to carry out an anchor to the W, N. W. 


Jan.] of la perouse. 48J^ 

and to fix the fliip bj a hawfer, to prevent her 
from behig carried nearer the land. Next, in or- 
der to Hghten her, the falt-water, with which. 
moft of our cafks were filled, was emptied into 
the hold, and all the pumps fet a-going to pump 
it out. As foon as we had difcharged this bal- 
laft, we fet the capftan to work upon a large an- 
chor, which had been put down clofe to the firft ; 
but, with our utmofl: efforts, it was near one P. M. 
before we could difengage the Ihip from the 
fand-bank, and get her fairly afloat. 


Cillet, Frinter, Salilbury-Squue. 

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Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: Dec. 2004 



111 Thomson Park Onve